In discussion with several businesses located on the site of the Markham-Stouffville Hospital, we have heard stories of how the parking issue adversely affects business. This is especially true for those businesses and professions that have an association with the hospital. Doctors, clinics, the drug store, the restaurant are all affected by the issue.
In the past, the hospital has tried various forms of collecting parking fees. Up until the last few years, parking was handled by taking your parking tag to a kiosk where a human dealt with you. This allowed some, if not all, of the businesses, to work out a method of validating your parking tag. Granted that the businesses would be assessed a fee for this service, but it still allowed people to park with a minimum of stress. The present use of automated machines does not allow for this option.
Are businesses affected? People must see the doctor, physiotherapist, or druggist. The parking issue is a major frustration which patients have discussed with these practitioners. More and more people are selecting off-site practitioners that have easier access. Some on-site professionals have offices elsewhere, allowing their patients an option. However, not all patients/customers using the facilities on the hospital grounds have the option of travelling the distance to these off-site offices.
It would be interesting to do a study to find out if businesses have had to relocate because they could not make the situation work in this location, only to succeed elsewhere.
On the opposite side of the coin are the businesses located just blocks from the hospital that are profiting from the issue. A number of people have stated that family members or friends drop them off for their appointments and then travel to the nearest coffee shop, restaurant or grocery store. So they are thanking the hospital for the new customers.