The recent poll, “Should hospital parking be free?” (Peninsula News Review, Feb. 8), was a classic case of asking the wrong question. And the answer to the question is telling in how many people don’t understand the current funding model for our health care system.
Perhaps the question should have been “How would you propose to provide transportation options to and from hospitals that makes provision of health care better instead of worse?”
Of course, this question is more of a mouthful and doesn’t elicit the same binary response that the one used generated. It also requires individuals responding to spend a moment thinking about why the question is being asked in the first place. That answer lies in some other questions – whose idea was it to place hospitals in suburban locations that require a car to travel to it anyway and why do we apply single use zoning and parking minimums to hospitals in the first place?
These questions obviously ask why we are so car dependent and weak as a result. The real answer is that our hospitals should be placed in our communities centres and integrated with good walkability and transit options so that cars are not required, but unfortunately those options aren’t before us. In the meantime my answer to the question that was asked is no, parking should not be free, otherwise other cuts will have to be made to other areas of operations to pay for free parking.