Illegal parking is “common practice” at University Hospital Galway (UHG), the hospital group Saolta has admitted.
And the Galway City Tribune has learned the problem could deteriorate once the proposed new Emergency Department is built in the coming years – Saolta has confirmed the new facility will result in 43 fewer car parking spaces at UHG.
To compensate for the loss of car parking spaces at UHG due to the new ED, Saolta plans to provide an additional 100 new parking spaces at a multi-storey car park Merlin Park Hospital.
That’s according to minutes of a meeting of stakeholders earlier this year, convened to discuss a city centre traffic management plan.
The minutes were released to the Galway City Tribune following a Freedom of Information (FOI) request.
The meeting was attended by members of the National Transport Authority (NTA), Galway City Council, Saolta and representatives of Arup, a private consultancy.
The Council plans to provide a “high quality bus route through the grounds of UHG from Browne roundabout to the University Road access junction”, the meeting heard.
It appointed Arup to advance the design of the plan, and the meeting discussed the “constraints” and “opportunities” identified in the proposal.
Prior to the meeting, Council and NTA officials, as well as representatives of Arup, had a walkabout on site of UHG.
“Significant illegal parking was observed across the entire campus,” the minutes reveal.
Saolta confirmed to the meeting that illegal parking was “common practice as demand outweighs supply”.
The meeting heard how Saolta is planning to build a new ED at UHG, which “will result in the removal of approximately 43 car park spaces in the consultants’ car park.”
The minutes added: “This is to be offset by the provision of approximately 100 car park space at Merlin Park. Saolta consider the provision of parking at Merlin Park to be enabling works for the ED.”
Saolta said they don’t envisage that a bus route through the spine of the site will commence prior to the construction of an ED. However, the Council outlined that it could be delivered in advance of the ED being built.
The Council, NTA and Arup said the new bus link through UHG “would result in a modal shift” of UHG staff to public transport, resulting in “reduced demand” for parking on site.
The City Council said additional parking “in the form of multi-storey parking would be better located at Merlin Park” and would facilitate park and ride.
Saolta said that a multi-storey car park is planned for UHG, and will “probably be located where the pathology building is”.
“Also, there is an option to provide a basement underneath the ED,” the minutes said.
Two staff car parks at UHG were converted to public car parks, according to Saolta, which “has resulted in a reduction in the number of complaints from the public”.
Saolta said that traffic counts show that there is not a significant amount of rat-running through UHG.