Thursday, May 15, 2014

Howard Hall Plan to Cost 9 Big Trees, 87 Parking Stalls over Code

Well, how peculiar!

Yesterday on the eve of the hearing at the Historic Landmarks Commission about the fate of Howard Hall, a reader sends word that the Hospital proposes to cut 9 "significant" trees and pave 87 parking stalls over and above the maximum of 177 City Code allows.

If there was any doubt this was more about parking than about a therapeutic garden and playground, this should put them to rest.

All the neatly ruled lines for parking stalls!
(Interestingly, there's no garden on the corner, just Howard Hall)
It's all about parking.

"Nine Significant Trees" would be removed and 87 stalls "more than permitted by code" on the Blind School property would be paved and striped.

Instead of just looking at the Blind School property and the development there only, petitioners want to look at a larger scale in order to assert there's a parking deficit. Looking at the entire Salem Hospital Campus, not just the Blind School property, petitioners say that throughout Salem Hospital's campus "a minimum of 2,340 parking stalls are required with a maximum of 4,095 stalls. There is currently 2,572 existing spaces on campus, well within the maximum permitted by code."

But free. We're talking about free parking, free employee parking, free patient and visitor parking. The Hospital incentives sedentary and polluting drive-alone trips. (How ironic and foxtrottery is that!)

Salem River Crossing Alternate Modes Study
We already have insanely high parking requirements in code, and the Hospital wants to exceed them. This parking lot isn't just to serve the Rehab Center and Walton House.

It doesn't all have to be free. Maybe most of it shouldn't be free.

The Hospital could better meet their parking requirements by pricing parking so that the market accurately allocates stalls. Right now, there's a market failure with subsidized, free parking.

No wonder they want to demolish Howard Hall and pave over the property!

(For history and all notes on the Blind School redevelopment and Howard Hall, see here.)


Curt said...

Even the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention recommend market based parking reform, including:

Implement parking pricing schemes. And...

Reduce the availability of on and off street parking to encourage alternate forms of transportation.

Even more ironic is the case study the those policy recommendations are based on was conducted in Oregon by OHSU. The very same institution Salem Health is currently seeking to partner with!

Jeff Schumacher said...

Children's Hospital in Seattle, which is very close to the Burke Gilman trail (for bikes & pedestrians), actually pays it employees to bike - and will even buy them bikes!

I suppose parking spaces for that hospital would be garage spaces and significantly more expensive than the surfact parking spots proposed by Salem Hospital, but it still seems like an economic case could be made that shows investments in bike/pedestrian improvements (better crossings at Mission, covered bike parking, cycletrack on Winter St., etc.) could be cheaper than new parking infrastructure. I guess the Hospital would just need to believe that improving conditions for bikers/pedestrians would also diminish its need for additional parking.

Anonymous said...

The paper's reporting that the hearing is continued:

"In the end, Salem Hospital's facilities director Cindy Wagner requested to continue the deliberation and keep the record open for more remarks.

That means for the next seven days, additional evidence can be submitted into the record. Then rebuttals will be accepted the next seven days. Then seven days after that, Salem Hospital would submit its final written argument.

The commission is set to hold another public hearing and deliberate on the hospital's application on June 12."

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Thanks for the CDC and Seattle Children's Hospital links! It is remarkable how unhealthy is the proposal of Salem Health. Thanks also for the meeting update. Those are linked to now on the previous post.