By Doug Charles
You need a Freedom of Information Request to find out how many parking spaces are available at the Met and Ouellette campuses of Windsor Regional Hospital. Instead, I figured out the numbers myself.
There are approximately 1,400 at the Ouellette Campus and 1,250 at Met, for a total of 2,650. I stumbled across information on the WRH website regarding accessibility. The item listed the number of spaces for disabled persons in each lot.
Checking Windsor by-laws as well as the Provincial Integrated Accessibility Standards, the ratio works out to 1:50.
The new hospital will have 3,096 spaces which, according to a scale diagram by Stantec Consulting, appears to take over half of the 60 acres the site selection committee claimed was needed, instead of using parking garages. Site selection criteria states that the province prefers hospitals to occupy 40 to 50 acres, but less would be considered.
Private vendors were requested to submit land parcels for sale, at their own expense of thousands of dollars, for consideration. Few 60-acre urban lots were submitted.
Other than the mere convenience for the majority of people the hospital serves, a site within the main framework of the city requires less parking. There would be on-street parking and/or shared parking lots and, of course, residents would be more likely to use public transit, walk, or ride a bike to the hospital. About 20% of the people in Windsor have no access to a vehicle and public transit isn’t 24 hours.
A parking garage is expensive to build, but less costly than infrastructure to the middle of nowhere.
The Catch-60, as I call it, or sixty acre mistake, is that the site selection committee has now ear-marked 60 acres of rural land, where they want the city to move the hospital. Windsor is expected to approve the development of a 546 acre subdivision and not just the 60 acres for the hospital.
All this to support a parking lot with a hospital attached.