Dec 16, 2006

Fighting traffic and parking woes at Lakeridge Health Oshawa

Lakeridge Health and the City of Oshawa are teaming up to alleviate traffic congestion at the Oshawa hospital site and prevent the problem from worsening when the new north wing opens in January.

The two organizations have developed a parking enforcement and traffic management plan for Hospital Court, which is owned by the City and patrolled by City staff and Parkwood Court, which is owned and patrolled by Lakeridge.

"City of Oshawa staff and officials have been very supportive and together with hospital initiatives, are making every effort to put measures in place to help alleviate traffic congestion on Hospital Court," said Marion Saunders, chairwoman of the Lakeridge Health board of trustees.

Once the new north wing opens, the hospital will be moving significant traffic patterns, such as hospital patient transfers and staff pick-up and drop-off, to a renovated entrance at the site of the current ER entrance on Parkwood Court.

Hospital security will be diligent in ticketing illegal parking on Parkwood court.

While parking enforcement on Hospital Court remains the sole responsibility of City bylaw officers, the hospital has hired additional security on a pilot basis, to help keep traffic moving.

In advance of the opening, security staff are speaking with drivers and placing reminders on vehicles illegally parked on the street. On average, about 200 drivers a day have been asked to move their vehicles.

Lakeridge has also arranged for additional volunteers to wait with patients and escort them to and from the hospital's units, allowing drivers to park or retrieve their vehicles from the parking facility.

Members of the Oshawa Accessibility Advisory Committee also participated in the initiative, sharing first-hand experience with the dangers of traffic congestion due to illegal parking at the hospital site.

"There have been a number of near misses and very dangerous situations for the disabled and Durham Regional Transit Specialized Services drivers because of illegally parked vehicles," said Scott Pigden, chairman of the accessibility committee. "I don't think people realize the very serious consequences that can quickly arise when they park illegally, even if only for a few minutes."

Thanks to The News Advertiser for this report.

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