Folks driving into downtown Birmingham along 22nd Street this morning probably noticed a new blue sign or two looking at them as they approached 5th Avenue N. They may have also noticed a lot of folks standing at the corner of 22nd St. and 4th Avenue N., catty-corner from the home of The Birmingham News and AL.com.
Once you saw the buses pulling up – and did a little digging online – it all started to make sense. As of today, all veterans and visitors utilizing the Birmingham, AL Veterans Medical Center located at 700 19th St. South will need to park on the city’s north side and take shuttles to the facility. There is no cost for them to park in the deck according the VA’s website.
As Mike Tomberlin reported in The News back in January, the VA needed to secure new parking options to replace the 799 spaces they leased from Children’s of Alabama. Their new facility – the Benjamin Russell Hospital for Children - opened in early August, necessitating the access to the spaces itself.
The VA’s current solution, the Birmingham Parking Authority’s Parking Deck #4, was built in 1984 and contains 673 spaces. According to a response to a question on the medical center’s Facebook page, the move is a temporary one “until the VA builds its clinical annex.”