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US Postal Service Doubles Estimate for Onsite Parking at New Santa Monica Post Office

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By Jason Islas
Staff Writer

December 13, 2013 -- Patrons lobbying for more parking at Santa Monica’s new 7th Street post office will get what they want and more, US Postal officials told The Lookout Thursday.

New estimates by US Postal Service engineers show that the north end of the facility at 7th Street and Olympic Boulevard could accommodate nearly 20 onsite parking spaces, doubling the figure originally promised by Postal Service officials on Wednesday.

“Our engineer has determined that the customer parking lot can be reconfigured to provide 19 onsite parking spaces,” US Postal Service spokesperson Richard Maher said Thursday.

That’s likely to be good news for patrons who say the current parking situation is stressful and even dangerous.

While there are currently 44 on-street parking spaces outside the post office on 7th Street, they are perpendicular to the curb and drivers are required to back out into two lanes of opposing traffic.

Even Congressman Henry Waxman weighed in the issue, sending a letter to Postmaster General General Patrick R. Donahoe Wednesday outlining residents’ concerns and reminding him that the federal agency promised onsite parking at the location.

When the Postal Service decided to close and put up for sale Santa Monica’s 75-year-old post office on 5th Street and Arizona Avenue in June 2012, officials assured residents that the new 7th Street facility would be more easily accessible, in part because it would have onsite parking, unlike the old building.

The initial promise came in a letter denying Waxman’s request to appeal the decision by the federal agency to close the 5th Street facility, built in 1938 as part of President Franklin Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration.

While the Postal Service opened the 7th Street location to the public on July 1, after shuttering the 5th Street facility, there is still no onsite parking, a fact that Waxman -- and concerned patrons -- want remedied.

Maher told The Lookout Wednesday that the federal agency would install “eight to 10” onsite parking spaces at the north end of property in about a month.

While the number of parking spaces has gone up, Maher said, that fact won’t change the timeline.

Still, Waxman’s office wants “a written response detailing what the Postal Service's plan is, and how quickly that plan will be implemented, to provide on-site customer parking” at the 7th Street facility.

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