01 November 2011

One: Hospital Parking

Okay, this might not be the rant you are expecting. I'm not here to rail against the high cost of parking at the hospital. Rather, I am here to insist that parking considerations have no place in the health care budget.

I confess that I live in a little bubble. I have never owned a car and I live downtown in a city with a reasonable public transit system. Oh yeah, I also have no children. So believe me when I say that complaining about traffic and parking woes from behind the wheel of the car you are sharing with…well, nobody…isn't really catching my interest. We spend far too much time and money accommodating the desire of people to drive their own cars places when they could take public transit.

Now, I do understand the exceptions. I grew up in a rural area, so I know what it's like for there not to be an alternative. I know people who have children, even multiple children, so I know how much easier it can be for certain voyages to bundle them into the car rather than trying to herd them through public transit. For the rest, there is public transit, and we could invest a lot more in making it responsive to the needs of everyone else in our society (more frequent passages, better services to the handicapped, etc.).

Saving time is not a good excuse: build the time into your schedule. If pressed, use the upper tier of our two-tier public transit system and take a taxi. You don't need you own car with all its attendant needs for parking, roadways, bridges, etc.

This all came to a head for me this past Saturday while puttering around my apartment and listening to the CBC Radio One program White Coat Black Art. It's supposed to be about the medical profession, but this entire episode was devoted to the problem of insufficient or too expensive parking at hospitals. What?! Arrange the hospitals so that ambulances have quick and easy access and so that people don't have to walk far from the bus stop to get there, even ensure that there is a taxi stand for those in a urry to get away from the hospital.

Just DON'T EVER spend a penny of the health care budget on providing parking for those who think their individual needs come before the needs of the rest of us.

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