GMH seeks cure for lack of parking - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

GMH seeks cure for lack of parking

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by Mindy Aguon

Guam - A special task force has been established to review the parking situation at the Guam Memorial Hospital.  The lack of adequate parking at the island's only civilian hospital and nearby areas is causing major frustration for GMH employees and forcing officials to look for alternate solutions. 

"It's frustrating," said chief of environmental services Gordan Mizusawa, "especially for the GMH staff, but it is what is and we just have to solve the problem."

But finding a solution to the lack of parking at the Guam Memorial Hospital is proving to be a bigger challenge than officials expected.  Mizusawa leads a special task force that has been tasked to find a cure.  If you've visited the hospital, you'll know it takes 15-20 minutes to find parking and in the afternoons it can take even longer.

"We have a lot of challenges especially between 2-4pm everyday because that's when our shifts occur," he added.

10,000 people walk through the doors of GMH on a daily basis.  The hospital had 573 parking stalls, but the ongoing Emergency Room expansion construction project got rid of 50 stalls and resulted in the physician parking being relocated. Employees and patients have been forced to find parking in nearby neighborhoods, but even that is being restricted. "Two or three years ago we used to have parking along the Younex buildings; since then the mayor of Tamuning has placed 'no parking' signs," said Mizusawa.

"Two months ago the Guam Police Department started to issue tickets to our employees, so the task force was developed to try to alleviate the challenges that we are having now."

The task force is looking at staggering the times of the shift change to free-up some parking.  Mizusawa says the group is also looking to implement a parking decal policy in the next 30 days. "We'll issue decals to staff employees, physicians we will also have decals for watchers and visitors probably within the first 30 days of implementation of this policy we will know whose cars are in the parking lot," he noted.

Other options that were explored included a shuttle service for hospital employees (which was deemed too costly), while constructing a three- to four-story parking garage was determined not to be feasible either. While the task force explores all options to alleviate the parking situation at the hospital, Mizusawa admits that one option could be paid parking but he says it would be an option of last resort.

"A lot of the people of Guam are having a difficult time so that's an alternative, but it's an alternative that we really don't want to implement if we can. It may come to such a recommendation to really eliminate or alleviate the problem. It is still too early to determine whether we're going to do that," he stated.

In the meantime, hospital officials are hoping to get support from the community.

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