Healthcare Parking – Collaboration is Key
By Nicole Chinea, CAPP, Senior Project Manager
It can be argued that healthcare parking and facility operations have a higher level of service requirement than most sectors of parking. I recall a conversation in my past life where the statement was made that parking is parking, regardless of the parkers being served. I carefully made the argument that this was not an accurate statement, with healthcare as my prime example.
In all healthcare environments, there are many different parkers that are impacted – doctors, nurses, staff, visitors, vendors, construction workers, and patients. Each of these user groups have very different requirements when it comes to parking. With the evolution of healthcare campuses, it is important that the operation remain in alignment while the campus changes through building reprogramming and growth.
Healthcare parking operations must continuously re-balance parking needs by proactively planning and carefully executing. This requires thinking through operational items today and five to ten years into the future. While ownership will be the driving force of this planning, the operations team will be required to get buy-in from administration, hospitals, clinics, and sometimes other institutions sharing the parking. This is no easy task in most cases. Many times the operations team feels the most impact, positive and negative, and will lean on partners and trusted advisors for support to gain buy-in and push the agenda forward.
Parking professionals are a great partnering option as they are a wealth of knowledge due to their broad exposure to technology, design, restoration and maintenance, operations, and planning efforts locally and nationally. Partnering with parking professionals is most successful long-term and is usually initiated with a problem that needs to be solved. Many times the optimal solution is something that was out of sight and mind, but collaboration always provides clarity. Ownership will gain the benefit of this knowledge and can leverage their professional experience for simple diligence, capital projects, strategic planning, etc.
As we are now seeing in the parking industry, parking is changing. Change is challenging, but required. How will healthcare facilities plan for the evolution of parking, execute these plans, and ensure that the level of service is not impacted for the many user groups? For long-term success, try collaborating with a parking professional and their team of partners.
Nicole Chinea, CAPP served as the Director of Parking and Transportation for the Texas Medical Center (TMC). She assisted in the management of approximately 59,000 parking spaces and she was a key member of the TMC enterprise resource planning team. Nicole directly oversaw the transportation operation for the TMC, transporting approximately 4,000 riders per day. She implemented GPS technology for the shuttle system and also assisted in the planning and deployment of the Texas Medical Center’s first propane-powered fleet. Nicole is now a senior project manager for the WGI Parking Solutions Division.