December 15, 2006

elevate: Answering the Tough Questions

Featured Image

Medical Center leadership answers the tough questions about what the elevate program is and what it means for the people who work at VUMC.

Question: Why are ambulances routinely parked on the sidewalk in front of The Vanderbilt Clinic?

Answer: Some of our patients need ambulances to get to their clinic appointments, and these vehicles are too tall to use campus parking garages. It's customary for these drivers to stay with their clients — leaving the vehicle, wheeling the patient to the waiting room, waiting with the patient, wheeling the patient back to see the doctor — so we've always provided parking near clinic entrances.

Our arrangement is working OK where Medical Center East and the Doctors Office Tower are concerned, but we've lately had a problem at TVC. With the expansion of the adult ED and the start of construction for a “link” parking garage between the Central and East garages, we've lost spaces that used to accommodate ambulances. Opening a couple of new spaces on the west side of TVC helped, but for the past 18 months or so we've also allowed these vehicles to park on the sidewalk at the south end of the TVC entrance.

Garage construction across from TVC has forced much pedestrian traffic away from street level and onto the second-floor bridge linking TVC and the Central Garage, so the temporary parking arrangement has been less disruptive than anticipated. But it requires fixing.

A solution is just weeks away. The approaching construction of the new VUH Critical Care Tower involves reconfiguring a good stretch of Medical Center Drive as a one-way street, and we're creating five spaces for ambulances across from the TVC entrance. Ambulances will be off the sidewalk by the end of January.

Once the new parking garage is ready, ambulances headed for TVC will park atop the garage and patients will be wheeled across a bridge to TVC.

— Ken Browning, VUMC director of plant services