It has been more than five years since hospital realignment. Ever since that time, parking rates have remained frozen at a per pay rate of just $16.35, or $425.10 annually, despite increased cost pressures to maintain our parking lots and inconsistencies in who pays for parking between our two campuses.
Since realignment, two main complaints are often received from WRH employees about our parking processes and policies:
In our continued efforts to standardize practices between both campuses, to address perceptions of unfairness, to improve convenience and to cover increasing costs to maintain and service our parking lots and shuttle service, WRH has made the difficult decision to increase rates for ALL staff parking.
The following are a list of parking changes that take effect on May 1st, 2019.
Parking rates will increase, albeit by a modest amount. As of May 1st, the “per pay” rate for staff to park at staff designated lots at either campus will rise 88 cents per pay to $17.23. If you are already paying for parking through payroll deduction, the adjustment will be implemented on the May 9th pay date.
To be clear, this increase in parking rates will not result in WRH “making money” from parking. As has been the case and will continue to be the case, our parking revenues fall behind the costs to maintain and service lots at both campuses.
It’s important to keep in mind that these increases for staff parking will help cover ongoing cost pressures without passing along these pressures to the patients and visitors we serve. As a result of a Ministry directive, visitor parking rates are at a daily maximum of $7 – among the very lowest in the province.
2. Introduction of fees to park at “Shuttle Lot” off Kildare Rd
Since April 2011, WRH has maintained an offsite parking lot off Kildare Rd. approximately two kilometers from Met Campus. It once allowed parking to both staff and visitors. The Lens parking lot immediately adjacent to the hospital had, previously, segregated staff and visitor parking. In order to ensure people did not have to drive to both the Kildare and Lens lots to find parking and also to make sure visitors were closer to the hospital, we later segregated the lots. Lens was dedicated for visitors, and staff were required to park at Kildare, Monday through Friday (except holidays, where staff could use the main visitor lot on Lens).
As noted above, staff at Met campus have historically parked free of charge at this shuttle lot, and then take a free shuttle ride back and forth to the hospital.
In order to keep these across-the-board increases modest, and to standardize rates and parking access at both campuses, we have made the very difficult decision to introduce parking rates for this shuttle lot. Rates will be the same as the increased rates for all parking noted above, as of May 1st. These rates will help offset costs for the Kildare lot. Use of the shuttle, however, will remain free.
In considering these changes, we researched other hospitals in Ontario and determined that charges for use of offsite parking and shuttle use are consistent with hospitals throughout the province:
Staff at shuttle lot parking: sign up for payroll deduction
Staff who regularly use the shuttle lot and wish to continue parking there regularly will need to sign up for an Electronic Parking Permit option at Electronic Parking Permit Registration (please complete ALL FIELDS). Please register by May 1st. Please note that you must be signed up for Payroll Deductions in order to utilize this service Parking Access Cancellation Form.
You will only need to register once (and only for one vehicle) and WRH will take care of passing along your license plate information. Any funds from staff parking will also go to paying the cost to use this outside provider, which should prove convenient for staff.
If you wish to register please do so before May 1st. The payment will be first implemented as of the May 9th pay date.
3. New convenient “electronic parking permit” option instead of swiping at Viscount Lot
Specific to Ouellette Campus staff who use the “Viscount” Lot E on the south side of the complex, a new option is being implemented to address frustration from staff who must always “swipe” to get a parking stub at this lot. We have received complaints over the years from staff about the outdated machines used to swipe and get a parking stub, as well as the frustration of having the stubs flip over on dashboards and resulting in parking tickets.
In order to address this issue, an Electronic Parking Permit option is also being implemented at this lot. Staff who regularly park at the Viscount lot can register at Electronic Parking Permit Registration and eliminate the need to swipe every time they enter this lot. You will only need to register once and WRH will take care of ensuring your license plate information is registered with the Passport parking service provider. Again, please note that you must be signed up for Payroll Deductions in order to utilize this service Parking Access Cancellation Form.
Keep in mind this means if you use a different vehicle occasionally, or a rental, you will still need to swipe or use a different lot around Ouellette campus in order to avoid a parking ticket.
If you wish to register please do so before May 1st.
Some context around parking constraints at WRH
We know the changes listed above will be disappointing to many of our employees. In a perfect world, everyone could park for free when coming to the hospital, whether to work, to volunteer, or most importantly to receive great, compassionate patient care.
Unfortunately, like all other hospitals across Ontario, ongoing cost pressures are a reality and every year, we look for ways to keep revenue on pace with our expenses without compromising patient programs and services.
It’s important to keep in mind the limits to our parking availability as well. Again, in a perfect world, we would have ample parking space for everyone so that staff wouldn’t need to park two kilometers away and need to be shuttled to the hospital or try to squeeze a vehicle into one of very few street parking options around the campuses.
In a perfect world, visitors at either campus wouldn’t have to circle through the visitor lot off Lens Ave., or the parking garage at Ouellette campus, scrambling to find a place to park and potentially being late for an appointment or a visit to see a loved one.
We are asked by some critics in our community why so much parking is required at a new facility in a few years from now. The fact is, we’re landlocked at our current campus locations, and we’re so tight for parking that any significant increase would make matters even worse. Hospital patient volumes are increasing, not decreasing, and if we found ourselves fortunate down the road to be in a position to expand services and our workforce, parking availability would be even more limited than it is now.
We continue to offer discounts Bus Passes for those who want to use transit. We also have various bicycle racks around each campus.
Maps with bike rack locations are available on the website under the link for the parking map.
However, the reality is the vast majority of our employees, professional staff and volunteers do not choose this option – considering many of you work 12-hour shifts, on your feet most of the time, that’s quite understandable, as well as the fact most of our staff live some distance from either campus. Visitors are often in a hurry to see loved ones, and patients who are seriously or critically ill probably aren’t putting on their running shoes or hopping on a bike to get to the Emergency Department.
What we need is a combination of transit access, bicycle access AND expanded parking space to and from a new facility, all of which will be important in the design of a new state-of-the-art acute care facility as well as for the future urgent care centre which will operate out of the city’s downtown core.
Viscount Lot – Registering for an Electronic Parking Permit
No, you only pay once. Currently, employees who pay for parking can park at either site - for example, an employee can park at the gravel lot at Met, and the garage at Ouellette.
If you want to park at the Viscount Lot at Ouellette and also the shuttle lot at Met, We have an arrangement with the City of Windsor whereby if you register for an Electronic Parking Permit, it will be recognized by City enforcement officers at both of these lots. There will be no need to register separately for these lots.
Students at the Ouellette Campus currently pay for parking. This will be the same at the Met Campus. We are currently working with our education partners to implement the new system.
Shuttle Lot off Kildare Rd. – Registering for an Electronic Parking Permit
Overall parking rates to increase May 1st, 2019
METROPOLITAN CAMPUS: 1995 Lens Avenue, Windsor, ON N8W 1L9
1030 Ouellette Avenue, Windsor, ON N9A 1E1