Wollongong Hospital parking angst

Oak Flats resident Jennifer Page is outraged that people are parking in spaces reserved for cancer patients and their carers at Wollongong Hospital.

Mrs Page said she regularly saw general visitors in the allocated patient spaces at the hospital's Illawarra Cancer Care Centre, spots meant for those undergoing chemotherapy and radiation.

She said carers and family members were forced to battle it out for scant spaces on surrounding streets, with the long-term parking issues in the vicinity exacerbated by ongoing construction at the hospital.

"It's stressful enough for patients and carers to have to go to the hospital for treatment - they don't need to worry about whether they will get a park or not," Mrs Page said.

Ongoing construction at Wollongong Hospital is causing parking problems. Picture: SYLVIA LIBER

Ongoing construction at Wollongong Hospital is causing parking problems. Picture: SYLVIA LIBER

"My mum has been undergoing chemotherapy for 12 months, and dad has to drop mum and I off at the entrance to the centre and then go and find a park, which takes ages.

"A lot of patients and carers are concerned about it - it was heartbreaking last week to see a lady who was having her last chemotherapy treatment and wanted her husband there to celebrate that, and it took him an hour and a half to park and be back by her side."

Residents too are feeling the pain, with one Illawarra Mercury reader who lives on nearby Mercury Street regularly forced to park many streets away from her home.

"The workers from the hospital and the nearby construction site, as well as the patients, are parking along the residential streets instead of their allocated paid parking," the resident wrote in a letter.

"I'm renting and am not allowed to park in the driveway. My street is packed with cars. I know they do not all belong to the house owners because at night, the streets are empty. This is very unfair to the residents."

An Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District spokeswoman said a "traffic management plan" had been put in place to deal with the major construction during the hospital's redevelopment.

She said the work, which should be completed by late next year, would include a new $27.8 million car park.

"[It] will more than double the current car parking available, with more than 700 additional car parking spaces to be provided, taking the total to almost 1400," the spokeswoman said.

"This is on top of 434 on-street spaces within 500 metres of the hospital and will mean more patients, visitors and staff will have easier access to parking."

Drop-off and pick-up zones remain in place at the Loftus and Crown street entrances, the emergency department off Darling Street and at the cancer care centre off New Dapto Road.

The spokeswoman said the boom gate, which was meant to restrict non-patient access to the cancer care centre, was "under repair".

The $14 million expansion of the centre had also included 14 additional car spaces on level five of the hospital's multi-deck car park.

Tell us your parking stories: cos@illawarramercury.com.au

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