Parking Challenges

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The EMW Women’s Surgical Center in Louisville is one of only two abortion clinics in the state of Kentucky. The second clinic in Lexington is only open on a part-time basis. This means clients come from all over the state of Kentucky to the Louisville clinic. They also come from the surrounding areas of Southern Indiana. We have talked to clients who have come from as far away as Nashville and Memphis.
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Downtown Louisville is not the friendliest place for out-of-town visitors. For one thing, we have a lot of one-way streets. It is easy to drive past your destination only to find yourself going in circles made up of blocks to get back to where you want to go. For another thing, when the clients are arriving at the clinic the morning rush hour traffic is heavy. Thousands of people are trying to get to work in the downtown area and beyond between 7a and 8a. The diverted Sherman-Minton bridge traffic has added to this chaos.
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There is no private parking lot for the abortion clinic. Unfortunately, there is one for the CPC beside the clinic. Many people park in the lot for A Woman’s Choice only to find they are at the wrong building and need to move their car.
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The choices for parking are public lots, parking garage or parking meters on the street. There is a big problem finding a meter on the street any day. The antis fill every available parking space close to the clinic on Saturdays and many week days. They prop their signs on windows and on the sidewalk beside their cars. The walk gets longer down the sidewalk the more antis show up any one day.
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The street parking is especially crowded with anti cars around holidays. When escorts have a four-day holiday like this weekend, the antis do too. Instead of spending their time with family and friends, they take advantage of a day off from work and school to come out in mass to harass clients. This fills the parking spaces on both sides of the street and around the adjacent streets before the clients arrive.
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One of the main job escorts have is to direct clients to parking spaces. We know where the 2-hour meters are, as well as the 3-hour meters and the closest parking garage. We know there is a $4 all-day fee for parking before 8A at the parking garage and they take credit cards. $1 in change equals one hour on the meters. The meters are two-car meters and many people are not familiar with them. We give instructions on how to park and how to operate the meters. When I started escorting, I had no idea all of the facts I would gather concerning parking and parking meters.
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If a client is lucky enough to find a meter on the street on Saturdays, they don’t have to pay for parking. On weekdays the meter readers come early and often, so they need change to park on the street. Escorts carry change on the weekdays and can direct clients to places to get change later in the morning.
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Since the meters will only take a maximum time of two or three hours, someone will have to come out of the clinic to feed the meter before the client is ready to leave for the day. Fortunately, most of the antis leave around 8:30A. Most, but not all, leave. There are always a few lingering or returning antis and AWC employees to continue to harass clients as they are leaving.
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The parking issues seem like a little thing in the grand scheme of things to be concerned about while going for an abortion. It is an added stress for the clients. Driving in an unfamiliar city to a destination you have never been to before and then add that to the question of, “Where do we park?”, is stressful enough for most of us when we visit other cities. When you are going for an abortion and facing protesters, it can be confusing and stressful.
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REMINDER: Escort training on December 3rd,  9:00A to 10:30A.

Registration will start at 8:30A. We’ll be talking about the things you need to know if you think you might want to be an escort. If you want more information about the training you can email us at:
everysaturdaymorning@gmail.com

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One thought on “Parking Challenges

  1. We’ve got similar problems at the clinic I escort at. One-way streets and limited street parking…unfortunately our antis have discovered that they can make the situation worse by taking up parking spaces around the clinic. We’ve also got one that apparently has a friend in the parking checker department, as any employee/escort with a known vehicle seems to find themselves marked or ticketed to the exclusion of any other vehicle on the street.

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