Overflowing parking lots at the VA hospital lead Fresno to start permit program in nearby neighborhood

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- People who live near the Fresno Veterans Administration Hospital are used to seeing hundreds of cars parked in their neighborhood, but the street congestion won't be so severe in the future.

The Fresno City Council established the area around the hospital as a Residential Permit Parking District.

Visitors and workers will no longer be allowed to park in the neighborhoods which surround the hospital.

The VA parking lot fills up quickly every morning. Some patients arrive hours before their appointments. After making a few passes, people end up parking along Clinton Avenue.

But the cars of hundreds of other visitors and employees end up lining the streets of the surrounding neighborhood.

Area resident Kevin Chase said, "It's pretty frustrating."

Chase puts cones out front to keep cars out of his driveway. He even parks his VW Bug on gravel in front of his home because spaces are so hard to find.

Chase said, "The only way to get a parking spot out there is park at like 5 am in the morning and leave the car there because if you don't, it's gone."

Neighbors brought their concerns to City Hall.

Helen Mourdigian told the City Council, "The VA employees block our driveways. They block us in our driveways. They block us out of our driveways."

Mourdigian said her husband has had to park three blocks away from their home.

City Councilmember Clint Olivier said of the issue, "If they're getting lawn service that day, the gardener can't park in front their homes. They've got to double park."

The council's solution was to approve a Residential Permit Parking District in the area unanimously.

Signs will prohibit parking in the neighborhood between 7 am and 7 pm.

Residents will get one free permit but will have to pay for additional permits to park on the street.

Employees will be asked to park in two Masonic Lodge parking lots, where a shuttle can take them to work.

The VA hospital also hopes to buy property across the street at Clinton and Fresno so it can build a parking structure in the future.
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