EL PASO, Texas - A nursing organization reached out to ABC-7, frustrated by the parking situation in Downtown El Paso. Staff is constantly cited while trying to do its job.
The nurses with EPIC Health Services are taking care of a young boy who lives on Missouri Street, in the San Francisco Historic District next to Southwest University Park. The 15-month old boy needs care 16 hours a day. And as those hours ticked by, the parking citations were being racked up by his nurses, who parked in front of the apartment in spaces reserved for residents.
"They're not there sightseeing; they're not there to see a game. They're there to work and provide a service," said Robert Yocom, EPIC Health Services Executive Director.
Yocom said the nurses began getting cited April 1, when residents in neighborhoods around the downtown ballpark were required to buy $30 parking permits from the city to park in front of their homes.
"The (municipal) judges are dismissing the tickets once they go in there and explain what we do and why we go there," said Yocom. "But it still takes time having to go there and having to get the tickets taken care of."
"They're paying between the two of them over $55 a week out of pocket to take care of this child when without that service that could jeopardize this child's life," he added.
"If you don't have a decal and you're parking in an area that requires it, there's signage that informs you of the repercussions that one may face," said Javier Camacho, the coordinator in the city's development department.
Camacho said for the nurses to avoid citations, they need to use parking meters.
ABC-7 found the parking meters closest to the apartment are three blocks to the east and west. Some lined W. Franklin Avenue by the I-10 and Porfirio Diaz off-ramp. There are more metered spaces at the intersection of Prospect and Santa Fe, east of the ballpark.
"It may not meet the convenience in that situation," Camacho said. "We have those regulations put in place to ensure fairness and equality (to downtown residents)."
Yocom wonders how fair is it to those who are trying to help people in need of life-saving services.
"There has to be some type of solution long-term. We cannot do this years down the road."
In the meantime, EPIC is reimbursing the nurses for the cost of the meters.
Camacho said allowing exceptions to the parking ordinance would require action by City Council.
Yocom told me he contacted District 8 City Rep. Cortney Niland a month ago and informed her staff of the issue. Yocom told ABC-7 he was told they'd look into it.
He hasn't heard back.
ABC-7 tried contacting Niland but has yet to receive a response.