November 30, 2010

West Garage to Open

The planned opening of the new West Garage on Monday, Dec. 6, will usher in more parking opportunities for patients, family members and for those faculty and staff who park on the south end of the Medical Center campus.

The new West Garage, a joint project between the Medical Center and University Central, features 1,800 spaces and numerous safety amenities such as: a security system with five blue light emergency phones on each level throughout the garage; a cellular phone antenna system which supports service for three cellular carriers (Sprint, AT&T and Verizon); a comprehensive fire alarm and sprinkler system; and more than 40 security cameras positioned throughout the structure. It is the only garage equipped with the Medical Center’s emergency public address system capable of broadcasting yellow and orange alerts.

Of the new structure’s 1,800 spaces, approximately 300 will be allotted for undergraduate student parking. These spaces will replace student parking lost when the original surface lot where the garage stands was excavated.

“The primary benefit to the Medical Center of this new garage will be to create more available patient parking in the South Garage. This is the reason the West Garage was conceived and its construction approved,” said Ken Browning, director of Medical Center Facilities and Construction.

Browning said on days when the Medical Center experiences peak traffic, currently only about 50 available spaces remain in the South Garage for patient and family parking. With these few spaces remaining, the situation develops where patients have to spend excess time searching for parking. Not only is this inconvenient for patients but downstream consequences affect clinic throughput.

“We have one additional floor in the Doctor’s Office Tower to build out and the upcoming inpatient expansion of 33 beds in the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt,” Browning said. “These two projects will clearly drive the need for additional South Garage patient parking.”

In order to meet projected needs for patient parking in the South Garage, about 450 staff will be incentivized to migrate to the West Garage.

Individuals who currently park on the roof of the South Garage will be given first opportunity to voluntarily transfer parking permits to the West Garage.

“We are changing the rate for roof parking in the South Garage to the same monthly rate as permits for those who park on lower floors. The current fee for regular staff parking in the South Garage is $37.49 per month, while roof parking has been $16.07 per month,” Browning said.

“Once the West Garage opens we are going to make the rate for those employees who currently park on the roof of the South Garage the same monthly rate they have been paying if they will agree to transfer to the West Garage. While transferring to the West Garage will be financially advantageous, all South Garage roof permit transfers will be voluntary.”

Approximately 500 employees currently park on the roof of the South Garage.

Browning says that in order to create enough convenient patient parking in the South Garage, employees who currently park on floors 4 through 6 with SP permits will now park on floors 5 though 7.

“The thought is that SP permit parkers will end up parking on the roof of the South Garage. SP permit parkers will be given the opportunity to voluntarily transfer to the West Garage at a lower monthly rate if they would like to move,” said Browning.

The West Garage will feature parking options available on a tiered pricing scale. Premium parking in the West Garage includes Level 1 and will be available for $75 per month, while regular parking on Sublevels 1-7 will cost $32.50 per month.

Those employees who have been on the waiting list for a permit in the South Garage will also be given early access to West Garage permits. Browning said some employees who have been waiting for years to park in the South Garage can now gain immediate access to the West Garage.

The Medical Center will continue to offer free parking and shuttle service at the offsite Chestnut Avenue lot. 

For questions regarding the opening of the West Garage please contact the VUMC Parking and Transportation Parking Permit Office at 615-936-1215 Option # 3