Residents Frustrated with Covenant Parking - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

3/5/03

Residents Frustrated with Covenant Parking

It's been almost two weeks since the new parking policy at Covenant Medical Center went into effect. Patients, visitors and employees must pay for a spot in the parking garage or risk the fight for a free spot on the street.

"With the new policy at Covenant as you know the employees were somewhat displaced as far as their parking, so many of them have moved to the residential areas in the area of the hospital facility", Sergeant Ronnie Sowell with the LPD said.

Sergeant Ronnie Sowell, says all the cars on the street have generated numerous complaints from the residents.

"The complaints that I have received have been because of the congestion and obviously because now you have a higher traffic volume in the neighborhoods", Sowell said.

There isn't too much the officers can do, but Sowell says parking control has been notified to monitor the area. Michelle Greenlief lives in the neighborhood and admits she's had trouble finding a parking lot in front of her own house since the parking policy went into effect.

"I do think it's dangerous and I'm frustrated because I live here and I can't get around my own neighborhood and it's frustrating and it never used to be like this until recently. And that's part of why we moved over here, its close to campus it wasn't cluttered and there weren't too many college students around so we really liked it and now it seems like there's a block party all the time", Michele Greenlief, area resident said.

We walked the area around Covenant to see just how bad the parking problem is, and not only did we find cars parking up to four blocks away in both directions, but we also found cars parked illegally that had been ticketed.

"There's really no where to park, we have many parking lots but it seems like their full, some people get here at ten after seven and aren't able to park or get into their office building by eight", Covenant Employee Stephanie Smith said.

Covenant Employee Stephanie Smith says, it's not only employees that are making the hike, it's Covenant patients too.

"So we're either forced to park on the street or forced to pay for the parking and in the tower they charge the employees $36 a month and we're not even guaranteed parking", Smith said.

All of the employees we talked to said they shouldn't have to pay to park where they work, and that they felt they were paying to make up for the hospital's debt problem. Covenant Spokesman Eddie Owens,say's that's not the case. He wouldn't go on camera regarding an internal issue but did say it's common to pay for parking at hospitals across the nation.

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