Hospital parking could break people with no choice but to pay
Is it just me, or is does anyone else feel like the victim of a stickup when paying for hospital parking?
My mother-in-law, who’s 89, was admitted to Rouge Valley Centenary Hospital a week ago, for injuries suffered when she fell in her apartment.
She’s making a good recovery, due in part to the support of my wife and her two sisters, who’ve been at the hospital every day since she went in.
My son and I decided to pop in on Grandma on Sunday, and pulled up to the machine that dispenses tickets at the entrance to the Centenary parking lot. A sign said $4 for each half hour, up to a maximum of $16.
Now I knew what my wife meant when I heard her talking on the phone to her sisters about car pooling.
Each of them has been driving to the hospital every day and maxing out on the parking charge, a total of $48 daily. One of them has been there twice on the same day, a couple of times.
They’ve paid at least $300 in parking fees so far, and will likely pay nearly as much if their mother stays another week. You can only do so much car pooling.
A one week parking pass is available for $70, or two weeks for $90, but my wife pointed that it isn’t an option for a lot of people, if their situation is uncertain.
Centenary is on Ellesmere Ave., at the bottom of Neilson Rd., a wide-open suburban area, but there is zero on-street parking and nowhere else to go. Hospital visitors who gamble on getting away with parking in a plaza on the north side of Ellesmere are ticketed and towed every day.
I stayed just over an hour and paid $12 to park in a lot only one-third full. It felt extortionate, and had me feeling sorry for people who have to go to the hospital every day, for weeks or months at a time, to be with a sick or dying family member.
It’s the same at hospitals all over the city. Some parking lots are even pricier.
For people on a tight budget and dealing with a family health crisis that involves a long hospital stay, it must be crippling.