EVERETT — This fall, Providence Regional Medical Center Everett plans to start charging for parking at both of its campuses in the city.
Seeing some of the spaces being used by college students, people living in their cars and as a park-and-ride were factors, said Darren Redick, executive director of support services at Providence.
“We have a very large parking garage that has open access,” he said. “It has become a magnet for people breaking into cars.”
For one of the busiest hospitals in the state, there needed to be more controls in place, Redick said.
Both the Colby and Pacific campuses have garage and surface parking.
Providence plans to charge patients and visitors a maximum day rate of $4 and nothing for visits under 30 minutes. A low-income rate would be available to qualified households, Redick said.
“The goal of implementing this … is not to generate additional revenue for a profit,” Redick said.
The monthly price for employees is still being determined, he said, and would likely be less than $4 a day.
At least one union is pushing back against the changes.
“Charging employees for parking at work, when we are already underpaid and overworked, is yet another indication that Providence does not value or respect caregivers,” said Milli Uzoma in an email. She is a nurse for Providence Hospice and Home Care of Snohomish County, which has a location at the Colby site.
The Northwest Neighborhood, which encircles the hospital, has long dealt with parking spillover not just from Providence but from Everett Community College.
“Anything that would make it less desirable to park in the garage is tricky for the neighbors who live in that immediate area,” said Kari Quaas, the chairperson for the neighborhood association.
“People should be able to park in front of their homes,” she said, “or at least on the same block.”
Joni and Jerry Smith have lived less than a block from the hospital campus on Colby Avenue for 40 years. Outside their home, restrictions limit people from parking for more than two hours unless they have a residential parking permit.
The retired couple say patients who come for a medical visit and park on their street aren’t the problem.
“It’s the people working there,” Jerry Smith said.
“We see them in their scrubs,” Joni Smith added.
They say at midday it’s usually hard to find parking.
The Smiths worry parking will get even tighter in the neighborhood once Providence expands the ninth floor. This is set to happen in two phases starting in December, according to the hospital.
They are split on a solution. Joni Smith wants to see the city make parking enforcement more consistent. Her husband wants the city to reduce the time allowed to park on their street without a permit. He said that could prevent employees from using breaks to move their cars.
“Most of the on-street parking within walking distance of Providence is already signed as an residential parking zone with one- to two-hour time limits,” said Kari Goepfert, a spokesperson for Everett, in an email. “We are prepared for additional residential parking-zone requests from residents near the hospital if the parking changes create additional on-street parking issues.”
The city of Everett is expanding the residential parking-zone boundaries to include all residential streets north of 41st Street, except for parts of downtown. That doesn’t automatically mean all of these streets will have time-limited parking.
At least 60 percent of the households on a block must agree before the city imposes any time limit, according to Goepfert.
The city is no longer giving out unlimited permits. Each household in a residential parking zone will receive two for free. Additional permits will cost $20.
Due to a delay in launching a new online parking system, the city has pushed back the renewal timeline for permits until May 1.