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Veterans say parking is a major issue at new VA hospital

Posted: 6:06 PM, Dec 07, 2018
Updated: 2018-12-08 01:44:47Z

Editor's note: Contact7 seeks out audience tips and feedback to help people in need, resolve problems and hold the powerful accountable. If you know of a community need our call center could address, or have a story idea for our investigative team to pursue, please email us at  contact7@thedenverchannel.com  or call (720) 462-7777. Find more Contact7 stories  here .

AURORA -- Less than six months after the opening of the new Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center, veterans are coming forward to Contact7 to express concerns with the building.

They say the problems start before they even walk into the facility.

Cypriane Williams has appointments at the VA between four and five times each month and says the South parking garage is a major issue.

“The first level will be full by 8:30 in the morning and the second will be half full,” Williams said. “I’ve been here as early as 8 o’clock in the morning and the entire first level is full, full, full.”

Williams isn’t alone. Another veteran who wrote into our newsroom says the care at the hospital is excellent, but he believes the engineers were short-sighted in designing and constructing the parking garage.

Mark Wilson says the traffic jam is mainly hidden underground since the parking garage was built beneath the hospital. He thinks something as simple as a “lot full” sign could make all the difference in unclogging the garage, and Williams agrees.

“People get stuck going round and round and looking for something,” Williams said.

Parking is such a problem, Williams says, she schedules her appointments for times she knows the garage will be less full.

“My clinic visits are based on the traffic congestion and parking spaces. I make my appointments in the afternoon. I try to make them after lunch somewhere between 1 o’clock and the last appointment,” she said.

However, Williams knows not everyone has the ability to take an afternoon appointment.

Beyond that, Williams says there’s not enough handicap parking for veterans and there aren’t any wheelchairs provided in the parking garage to get patients up to the clinic.

Around the hospital, there is also very little street parking for patients trying to access the hospital, and the lots across the street are reserved for the Children’s Hospital.

If patients are able to find street parking, there are not any marked crosswalks in front of the south entrance, meaning patients would need to walk to the intersection of Colfax and Xanadu Street to cross legally. Many people instead choose to cross illegally.

“God forbid that somebody actually gets hit,” Williams said.

She believes there are some straight-forward fixes that could make the building more accessible for veterans, but blames the overall design for the issues.

“Some of them were more concerned about form and beauty over function to be perfectly honest with you,” Williams said.

The VA also released this statement to Denver7 addressing the questions over parking: “We know parking is important to our Veteran patients, that’s why the new Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center campus has more than 1,000 parking spots dedicated to Veterans – a more than 600-spot increase from our former campus. We will continue working to ensure Veterans have the best parking experience possible.”

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