‘The city needs to address it’: expanded KGH still having parking issues

If you live near Kelowna General Hospital (KGH) and are fed up with the volume of traffic, or if you’re going to the hospital and want better access to parking, you’re not alone.

And chances are you could be breathing a sigh of relief in 2017.

The recent expansion of the KGH has lead to even more parking issues around the community, and residents are reaching a boiling point; something that looks like it could finally lead to some major changes.

“It’s become quite a popular area,” nearby resident Marilea Ann said.

Ann has been in the area for almost 20 years and isn’t happy with the way the city has dealt with hospital traffic overflow. She’s building a driveway on her lawn to make sure she’s got a place to put her vehicle that’s near her home.

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“It’s very frustrating when you can’t find a parking spot in front of your house and you’ve got a car full of groceries.”

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KGH last put in parking in its new parking lot in 2014, but many residents of the area argue the spots added aren’t enough and that much of the overflow parking ends up in their neighbourhood.

Residents have spoken out so much, in fact, that the city is listening.

The City of Kelowna and the Interior Health Authority (IHA) are working together on a hospital area plan to guide future development and help address parking and transportation issues.

On Thursday, November 3 residents are invited to review the current on-street parking challenges and opportunities in the area near KGH.

“We’ll take all of the feedback we get and then we’ll finalize a plan that will be presented to council,” parking services manager Dave Duncan said.

Using information collected from residents, hospital employees, and visitors, a draft plan has been made to address issues including complaints from nearby residents like Ann who are not happy with traffic coming and going at all hours.

The plan involves retooling many of the parking restrictions currently in place near the KGH: streets like Pandosy, Long, and Speer will all see new regulations involving overnight parking and short-term stays.

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Duncan said it will include a multi-faceted approach which includes transit improvement and transportation network upgrades.

Once council approves the final plan, changes would be implemented by early 2017, according to Duncan.

The changes outlined in the draft plan are available on the City of Kelowna’s website.

The public session on November 3 will be from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Clinical Academic Campus Lecture theatre at 2312 Pandosy Street in Kelowna.