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St. Barnabas Hospital opens first-ever parking garage

Bronx Times

The only Bronx hospital without a parking garage finally has one.

St. Barnabas Hospital held a ribbon cutting on Wednesday, September 19 that ushered in use of a six-story, 210,000-square-foot parking garage with 605 spaces on what had been “a chaotic open-field lot,” said the hospital’s CEO, Dr. Scott Cooper.

Indeed the East Tremont hospital was the only major medical facility in the Bronx, and one of the few in the city, that did not have its own parking facilities, said Cooper, with both the community and employees clamoring for a place to park there since he first started there 30 years ago.

“Accessing this institution was problematic,” said Cooper.

“Health care is only good if you have access to it.”

Construction on the parking garage began in June 2011, with $20 million in low-interest loans from the federal stimulus American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.’s office provided assistance in securing the funding, Cooper said.

Not having decent parking also made it difficult to recruit staff, he added.

A heart and a purpose

Diaz called the garage an economic development with a heart and a purpose, and provided examples on how the parking lot could improve the lot of people who rely on the institution for health care.

For example, the borough president said that it would provide the opportunities for a family of a child with asthma to avoid having to circle the hospital and park blocks away while going for treatment, and sometimes risk coming back to their cars to find the “hideous orange envelope” of a parking summons on their windshield.

“This (parking garage) is a way that we can relieve a wife’s anxiousness right before her husband is going to go for life-threatening surgery,” said Diaz, giving examples of the how the garage can help humanize health care delivery.

Patrick Rocchio can be reach via e-mail at procchio@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3393

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