Everett Post reporter Joey Muldowney attended the Northwest Neighborhood meeting, to hear what hospital staff and neighbors in the area surrounding the hospital had to say about the upcoming policy. This is the first part of a continuing series on the topic.
Neighborhood meeting June 20th Talking Points and Highlights
Providence Regional Medical Center plans to implement paid parking in both their Colby and Pacific campuses by October this year. Employees of Providence will have to pay for parking as well.
The estimated price for parking according to Michael Gaffney, the director of Support Logistics at Providence, is between $2 and $4. Providence is also discussing one hour free parking and validation plans.
Mr. Gaffney addressed the Northwest Neighborhood Association on Thursday, March 31st to explain the plan so far and answer questions. He will be visiting the Northwest Neighborhood Association again June 20th with more details.
The Northwest Neighborhood Association meets every third Thursday of the month at 6:30 p.m. at Everett Community College in Whitehorse Hall, room 105. You can sign up on their website to receive information regarding meetings and events in the neighborhood: http://northwesteverett.org.
The Northwest Neighborhood Association meetings are open to the public, according to Kari Quaas, the Chairwoman for the group. Mrs. Quaas said, "We do a lot of good stuff to try and get neighbors to talk to one another, keep the neighborhood looking nice, and just being engaged."
At the meeting on March 21st, Mr. Gaffney explained the hospitals reasoning behind the "control system." The two main reasons are safety/security and capacity. He said, "on a regular basis" there have been individual situations of drug deals, break-ins, homeless people living in cars in the parking lot, and people using the lot as a park and ride.
A neighbor at the meeting asked if anything would be done to improve security, Mr. Gaffney said no and explained security already runs 24/7.
Another neighbor said he was nervous the crime in the parking lot would move toward his home and neighborhood. Mr. Gaffney responded by explaining the cost of the tickets to park would only be $2-$4 but did not address the overreaching concern of the citizen.
Another neighbor brought up the already crowded on-street parking spaces in the area and if the control system would enhance that issue. This was a concern many members of the Northwest Neighborhood Association seemed to share. Mrs. Quaas said, "I would be concerned for the same thing that you just expressed, that more people will be forced onto the neighborhood street, of which there is no room, and particularly near the hospital, there is now Children's there, and the Cancer Center and just, it's getting tighter and tighter all the time."
Mrs. Quaas did explain there are permits neighbors have, or can get, that allow them to park at parking permit areas any hours of the day, but "it doesn't help us if all the parking spaces in front of our homes are taken up by people who are either going to school or going to the hospital."
Mr. Gaffney said, "we can't force people to use our lot," and that there are 1,800 parking stalls at the Colby campus.
As for capacity, the hospital simply needs the spaces. Mr. Gaffney also explained that Providence hopes to expand and make use of the ninth floor which means even more patients parking in the lot.
Information on the expansion and hospital beds bought in 2017 (https://www.heraldnet.com/news/everett-providence-hospital-seeks-state-ok-for-70-more-beds/) will also be discussed at the June 20th meeting.
If you have any questions about the topic or information to add, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, come say hello to me at the Northwest Neighborhood Association meeting on June 20th!