Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Hunt For Parking Spots...!

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!


Dizzy-Dick said...

Exercise is good, even when you are forced into an extra long walk.

Ben in Texas said...

I'm not a vet, so the only thing I know about the treatment of VETS is what I read and hear.
But. I don't think they are being treated with the respect they deserve.

Duke said...

My VA clinic has a golf cart shuttle which I don't use but it is available. I have been known to park my 3/4 ton diesel truck in a compact car parking spot....fits just fine if you dent the door of the next car.

Sixbears said...

At least they are addressing the problem.

JoJo said...

Wellllll I guess they are trying but 2017? At least they will lease some parking in other places and use a shuttle.
They just finished building a nursing home at the VA here. Its about time.

Raining! I am so happy and as always coffee in your kitchen is welcoming to me.

HermitJim said...

Hey DD...
I normally don't mind the walk, unless it's cold and raining! Then it seems like a very long walk to me!

They do have a parking valet service at the front door, but it's always pretty crowded and I like to leave that open for the guys that are less mobile than I!

Thanks, my friend, for coming by today!

Hey Ben...
I think what happens so many times, is that they use non-military politicians to run the VA hospitals and service departments.

Makes for some admins losing sight of all else but the bottom line!

Not a good idea, if you ask me!

Thanks, buddy, for coming by today!

Hey Duke...
I'm blessed when I can still stay fairly mobile. So many of the guys, especially the older ones, need to be able to park closer.

Just no easy way to handle the problem, I reckon! The VA does have about 4 or 5 shuttle buses that run all the time, plus emergency call stations through-out the parking areas...just in case someone falls or collapses while on the way to the building.

Reckon they are at least trying!

Thanks for coming by today!

Hey Sixbears...
That's true, my friend, that's true! Always a good sign!

Thanks for dropping by today!

Hey JoJo...
We had a pretty good rain last night! Now the temps are fairly cool, at least for here!

As long as it kills off some of the mosquitoes I don't mind!

Thanks, sweetie, for coming over this morning!

Anonymous said...

The VA in portland has a new facility too bad the parking is worse than at Houston VA, who the h--- thought of the parking was an idiot, the VA in Seattle is on a hill all by itself, parking galore if you like to hike half way to Mt. Rainier, (joke if you live in the Seattle area you will get it)! But at least you can hike up to the danged VA in Seattle, no such luck at the Portland VA they invested millions and millions only to have the Veterans, men and women not have access to park a car, the bus is great takes you right up there if you can find the stop to catch it in downtown Portland which is hard to find..go freakin figure, Veterans are treated like crap now, I worked for them most of my govt. years and they used to respect and take care of them, now just people working for their good govt. benefits and don't give a crap about the Veteran man or woman, shamefull!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

SUERTE said...

I think a lot of things the VA does, needs more oversight, from what I have seen over the years, there is a lot of room for improvement.