Saturday, January 12, 2013

Seattle VA Hospital Parking Problems

It can be quite a hike from your parking spot to the hospital,
assuming that the lot isn't full
Valet parking is an important service at the Seattle VA Hospital for two reasons.
First, many of the veterans seeking care at the hospital have problems walking, but the parking lot is necessarily large. Usually when I go over there, I drive around the lot about ten minutes, finding no open spaces, and end up parking in the neighborhood. That's ok for me because my legs are just fine and I'm never there for treatment, but for others, that's a problem.
Second, there's money in the budget for this. It was put in there in response to community pressure, and there's no financial reason not to do it. There's supposed to be enough money to cover valet parking until the new parking garage is completed, which will take some years but when it's done, should solve the issue for the long run.
However, a problem has arisen. The first day of 2013, the valet parking disappeared, and there was nothing to tell people when, if ever, it was returning. Veterans called the hospital and, receiving no real answer, our congressmen and senators. Soon the valet returned and it seemed like things were on track. However today (January 11) I stopped by there for another reason, and the valets were gone.
To the Hospital's credit, the signage was a little better; it told us the day on which the valet service ended. But it didn't say why it was gone or when it was coming back.
This is a helpful sign,
But knowing when the service would return
Would be more helpful
I emailed the veteran's affair person on the staff our congressman, Jim McDermott, and he quickly replied that the hospital had contacted him and said they were having problems with the contractor. They sent out a second message late this afternoon saying "Services will begin on Wednesday, January 16, first thing in the morning." and they'd let the community know by updating their message on the facebook page. and its twitter feed. This suggests a number of things:

Seen Jan 11,2013
  • Contractor problems do happen; that's not strange. But it would be good to figure out exactly what happened so that it doesn't happen again. Where did the contractor selection process go bad?
  • The community didn't have a good way of monitoring what was going on; maybe the community need to occasionally check up on the place's status so problems can be addessed more quickly and, failing that, information can be disseminated more rapidly. 

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