An Open Letter To:
Jim Sinclair, Board Chair
Suite 400, Central City Tower
13450 – 102nd Avenue
Surrey, BC. V3T 0H1
Re: Hospital Pay Parking
Dear Mr. Sinclair,
Three months ago we met to discuss the unacceptable practice of hospital pay parking. To further my understanding of the issue and gain the perspectives of others, I have conversed with your board chair counterparts at Island, Interior and Coastal Health Authorities. My meetings with several MLAs and Lower Mainland Mayors have confirmed there is solidarity on the matter. Our campaign continues to make good progress in promoting the issue to the level of public debate.
Your organization recently announced it might consider reverting back to the pay-at-exit controlled access parking model. This is a welcomed first step on the road to parking reform, but falls short of our campaign goal to end mandatory user fees in the parking lot. Whether or not Fraser Health implements a return to the pay-at-exit system, we desperately need new accommodative parking policies in the interim that reduce the net financial and psychological burden on the public.
The highest demand for hospital parking is in the short term. Offering free short term parking would effectively relegate the parking fees to only those with medium to long term parking needs. Such a design would shift parking fees from mandatory for all to optional for many. The city of Surrey has demonstrated the merits of this approach after initiating its own hospital parking reform measures in the fall of 2018. The city converted metered street parking adjacent to Surrey Memorial Hospital into 2 hour free parking. It’s only about 100 parking spots, but the impact on visitors to SMH has been overwhelmingly positive. Support for free short term parking is also evident in the hospitalpayparking.ca opinion poll results. Visitors to the site voted 2 hour free parking as their collective second choice behind unrestricted free parking.
In our initial meeting we agreed that universal hospital parking reform in BC must involve the participation of the Ministry of Health. While we continue to wait for cooperation from the Health Minister, I would like to ask on behalf of the campaign and the volunteers who support it, that Fraser Health immediately establish 2 hour free parking for all parking facilities it manages that serve the needs of Surrey Memorial Hospital. This policy change should be easy to implement with minimal costs for revised signage and staff training. Let’s make SMH the role model for other hospitals in the province as we transition to an improved parking system that benefits everyone and exploits no one.
I trust you will consider this request to be reasonable and firmly in the public’s best interest.