I know that I've mentioned the problem with finding parking space when I go to the VA.
When the Chronicle ran this story about what steps were being taken to make this problem go away, I thought I would share it. I'm glad that they are admitting to the problem and are planning to add some more parking. We certainly need it!
I'm in better shape than many guys that visit because at least I can walk the 1/4 mile or so from where I park to where the entrance is. For others the situation is a lot more serious!
Houston VA hospital to fix shortage of 1,200 parking spots with new garages
At last: Houston’s Veterans Affairs hospital will try to improve the nightmarish parking situation at the facility, which has seen the number of outpatient visits double in the last 10 years to more than 1 million annually.
The increased traffic has had an obvious impact. Anyone who has tried to park at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center on Holcombe is familiar with the challenge of finding somewhere, anywhere to park in the overflowing lot, and the temptation — after circling for what seems like forever — to give up and risk being ticketed or towed by parking on a median or curb. Many veterans expect to lose most of a day to attend a single doctor’s appointment, in part because of the parking problems.
Today VA announced new parking garages are in the works.
That’s the good news.
The bad news is that construction, scheduled to begin in February, won’t be fully completed until after 2017, and will temporarily eliminate some spaces in the already overcrowded lot.
VA will provide free shuttle buses from overflow lots off-site.
A sketch of a new parking garage planned for the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center in Houston.
Here’s more details from the VA announcement:
With the number of outpatient visits to the Houston VA campus doubling in the last 10 years, parking has become a serious problem for veterans, volunteers, visitors and staff. Efforts have been made in the past few years to increase parking availability, but a more dramatic strategy had to be taken to address the issue.
“The facility already expanded surface parking with an additional 480 parking spaces,” said Mouris Ibrahim, (the hospital’s planning and construction chief). “However, this new parking project will provide vertical expansion, and is a better option to reduce walking distances and use our property more efficiently.”
The parking project will be completed in two phases.
Phase one includes the construction of a four to six-story parking structure near the Almeda gate that will house 200 cars. This garage is scheduled to be completed in December 2012. Phase two is an expansion to phase one with an additional 400 spaces and is expected to be completed by September 2013.
Future plans include the construction of a second parking garage near the Old Spanish Trail entrance to house 600 cars. It is scheduled to begin construction in 2017.
Some parking spaces will be displaced while construction takes place; however, steps have been taken to mitigate this situation.
“We are in the process of leasing 300 off-site parking spaces,” said Ibrahim. “The leased parking will be nearby and a free shuttle bus service will be provided.”
If nothing else, I always get my exercise when I go for my blood test! Guess that's a good thing. Still, being closer would be nice!
Raining outside, so let's have our coffee in the kitchen!