GOSHEN — The completion of Goshen’s most recent bicycle and pedestrian path has not only connected the Winona and Millrace trails, but has also alleviated some parking concerns for IU Health Goshen Hospital.
Connecting the two trails, which was a joint effort between the hospital, Goshen College and the city, has provided an easy access route for hospital employees to park at a hospital building to the south of the main campus and walk to work.
IU Health Goshen is now offering an incentive program to encourage employees to utilize the new path.
Any hospital worker that participates in the program receives an additional $10 per pay period.
So far, there are 54 employees taking advantage of the incentive, according to Melanie McDonald, IU Health Goshen’s public relations manager.
The pay bump isn’t the only advantage that comes from walking, though, McDonald noted.
“A bonus is that (walking) has encouraged healthy behaviors in colleagues,” she explained.
The hospital had significant motivation to help get the project accomplished, as the limited on-site parking has become an issue in recent years.
An increase in the number of patients the hospital has served in recent years has led to overflow in the hospital’s current parking lots and some employees would have to move their vehicles during the day to open spaces for incoming patients and visitors.
In January, IU Health Goshen was granted temporary parking along the south side of High Park Avenue while they looked into the possibility of the path that could encourage some employees to walk.
The High Park parking was granted until the completion of the project, and since the path’s completion late this summer, the parking on the street has been discontinued McDonald said.
The path and subsequent incentive program have worked as intended, McDonald said.
“The goal of this project was to ease parking congestion,” she said, adding that parking on the main campus has seen just that — less congestion and more space for visitors.