UPDATE: News 3 has learned the parking problem was not the responsibility of the City of Savannah, but of Memorial Health. They have immediately responded to help solve the problem.
SAVANNAH, Ga. – At a hospital, time is precious. Every minute counts, especially in a life-or-death situation.
Every week hundreds of cars make their way in and out of Memorial Health’s parking lot.
For months, the staff at the Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Coastal Empire watched their frustrations grow in regards to limited parking on campus.
“We’re at our wit’s end,” Executive Director Bill Sorochak said. He reached out to WSAV for help.
He says there are six parking spots designated for RMH families but repeatedly cars will occupy those spots who have no visible affiliation with the organization.
“For our families, this is just crazy, they’re coming into the house crying that it took them 30 minutes to find someplace to put their car,” he said. “There are a million things going on and this is home away from home. They’re staying with us and they need to be able to get to their child as soon as possible because any time lost could be traumatic for them.”
Recently signs were added to explicitly show the designated spot is for family parking. Those who seek services and support from RMH are those with children who are critically ill or severally injured.
Sorochak also showed News 3 the illegal parking found on the side of the ‘House’ on Wickford Street. On both sides of the two-way street, there are cars lining the yellow-stripped curbs despite numerous ‘No Parking’ signs.
“We’ve been working on this for eight months and every time we reached out to the fire department or the city or the hospital or whoever it might be they’re all, there’s just no clear definition as to whose responsibility is for policing that side street and it’s becoming very dangerous and problematic for our families and we just don’t know what to do.”
“If there’s an issue where a fire truck needs to get through, our house is on fire, those emergency services, it’s difficult to get through here,” Sorochak said.
On Tuesday RMH installed 14 more parking signs costing around $500 to enforce proper parking and towing procedure for its designated property and parking spots.
“I’m hoping society sees that sign [family sign] not the bottom sign [towing sign] and worried about their car being towed more than taking care of a family,” Sorochak said.
After several calls to city and hospital staff by RMH and WSAV, Sorochak learned Tuesday afternoon Memorial security plans to start enforcing parking rules and procedures starting Wednesday morning.
Updated signs will replace old faded ones, tickets will be administered and towing will be carried out.