Friday, July 21, 2017

All About How Children's Hospital Patrols For Employees Parking In The Neighborhood

In October of 2015, Children's Hospital hired a full time parking enforcement officer, Tom Cheshire, who patrols the streets around the Hospital checking for employees violating Hospital policy to not park on neighborhood streets,. 

However that still doesn't deter some employees from parking in the neighborhood.

One neighbor commented to the Laurelhurst Blog:

I live near the hospital and I'm wondering about neighborhood residents and parking rights. Many hospital employees leave their vehicles each day on my one-side-parking-only street. Their shifts are long, and my street is crowded to begin with. One person regularly parks his truck and bike rack on my street for his twelve-hour work day. He then returns for his bike and leaves his truck overnight on my street to, most likely, bike home. He returns his bike to his truck the next morning, over 24 hours later, works another day, then leaves with his bike and truck in the late evening. I don't mean to be inhospitable, but parking on my street is already overwhelmed by residents. Is one allowed to leave his vehicle overnight in a neighborhood where he does not live? Can the City help at all here?

The Laurelhurst Blog followed up with Hospital Security who said the individual was not a Children’s employee, but an employee of a vendor that has a business affiliation with the hospital.  Hospital Security spoke with the vendor who followed up with the individual. 

From emails the Laurelhurst Blog has received,  it appears there are many areas in the neighborhood  that Hospital employees are regularly parking in - the corner of NE 45th Street and 45th Avenue NE, corner of NE 45th Street and 43rd Avenue NE, 41st Avenue NE, up and down NE 45th Street and several others locations.

Todd Johnston, Vice President, Facilities and Supply Chain, told the Laurelhurst Blog that the Hospital Parking Office looks for Children’s employees and contractors who don’t belong in the neighborhood and issues warnings.  The Hospital Security officer runs license plate numbers and tags vehicles, communicates with employees and supervisors, and "employs progressive discipline to improve compliance."
Todd added:
We visit the specific areas of concern multiple times daily and have stepped up our efforts as we continue to patrol them. 
We communicate frequently with employees and contractors, admonishing them not to park in any unauthorized area.  We follow up consistently and forcefully.  Our charge covers those vehicles that are tied to the Hospital in some way.   
While we don’t expect neighbors to call in cars, we appreciate the alerts and do follow up whenever a neighbor contacts us. 

Jim Sawyer, Children's Hospital Director of Security, told the Laurelhurst Blog Staff:
The Hospital takes its street parking restrictions very seriously.  Hospital Security actively tickets the streets seven days a week, and attempts to respond to all complaints within an hour. We respond to any and all Transportation requests for enforcement help of any kind.  This is a priority for our patrol and enforcement team. We patrol and ticket the streets regardless of whether we receive calls or not. If one of our neighbors calls we have and will give their concern priority response.    
Tom Cheshire is tasked with parking enforcement as a major portion of his work.   He works Monday through Friday.  Occasionally, his schedule is modified to capture various night and weekend patrols.  The Security department provides supplemental enforcement on nights and weekends as the caseload allows.
We have a systematic process in place to enforce parking which includes regular (but variable by time and day) patrols, database tools to look up and cross reference license plates and the ability to deliver citations remotely which allows us to scale enforcement.      
Whether the citation is delivered at the vehicle within 30 minutes or via email within hours it has a similar impact on the workforce member -  a citation.  An email citation is equal to or better than a paper citation – as it arrives to the parker faster than a paper citation and it often includes their supervisor.  And it supports the ability to scale the enforcement activity.
Workforce are required by hospital policy to register their vehicle and to keep this information up to date. The hospital also has access to the DOL database for looking up suspected vehicles out of compliance. If the name does not match a workforce member, we can also attempt to match the registered owner address to workforce members living at the same address.  If a vehicle isn't in the Hospital database, the vehicle can still be cross-referenced via the DOL database. 
There are no assigned  parking areas in the neighborhoods - all assigned areas are on hospital property or in one of our designated off site lots. 
We advise staff there is no cut off street distance-all street parking is unauthorized. By cut off distance we mean-if an employee were to ask “If I park a mile and a half away and walk in-is that ok”? If-when we field these questions we answer that "no -you need to park in your assigned area if you drive-there is no amnesty so to speak if you park a greater distance away". 
Human Resources takes street parking very seriously - it is a performance issue that will or can impact ones employment.  If an employee is a repeat offender it becomes a  serious performance issue which could result in disciplinary action up to and including termination.  Violations are tracked and treated as a performance issue.  On the second violation, the supervisor is notified and reinforces the policy with their employee.  If a third occurs, Human Resources and the staff member’s supervisor is also notified and it becomes a documented performance issue. Very few ever get to the third violation.
We have 3 to 4 security officers patrolling the streets off shift and on weekends and forwarding all their finds of street parkers to Tom-who follows up in a priority matter.  If Security observes staff on the street parking we will stop at the moment and question-advise them to move.
Running a plate and issuing a citation to our employee can be done remotely while the car is there for several hours, or even after the vehicle is gone.
On a daily basis, our enforcement staff rotate through a number of neighborhood patrol zones, in a randomized order to prevent predictability. When violators are identified it is not uncommon that they are found on streets most proximate to the hospital (45th & 40th) and 70th & Sand Point.   

Jamie Cheney , Hospital Transportation Department Director,  added:

A license plate number is the most accurate way to determine if the car belongs to an employee of Children’s.  Because the same enforcement staff has been doing this for over two years, he also knows certain vehicles by sight and make and model.   

For example, after running the license plate number several times on the same blue Mazda 3 that routinely shows up on 41st Ave NE (this is a fictional example) and finds that it is not a Children’s employee so there is no need to run the license plate anymore or physically go out to the car.  In other words, he knows many of the cars by memory and knows who is not an employee, or an employee that lives on the street.   We follow up on each request from the neighbors with this logic:

If it is not a known license plate number, it gets run. If it is an employee, then a citation is issue.  If it is not a known license plate number, it gets run.  If it is not a Children’s employee, then no action is taken.  If it is a known license plate number and a Children’s employee, then a citation is issued. If it is a known license plate number and not a Children’s employee, then a citation is not issued. 
The enforcement staff has standard rounds through the neighborhood.  If a suspected parking infraction is called in, enforcement staff  triage the issue based on current resources at the time and the urgency of the issue.   

Hospital  Security Services can be reached at 206-987-2030 or by email at including details such as location, time, vehicle, etc), which goes to a team rather than just Tom, who may not be working that particular day.  Tom’s number is 206-987-2489.  Jim Sawyer can be reached at 206-987-6213.

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