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Progress Made But More Work Needed for New Parking Lot at Santa Monica Post Office

Santa Monica Real Estate Company, Roque and Mark

Harding Larmore Kutcher & Kozal, LLP  law firm
Harding, Larmore Kutcher & Kozal, LLP

Pacific Park, Santa Monica Pier

Santa Monica Convention and Visitors Bureau

By Jason Islas
Staff Writer

January 13, 2014 -- Nearly a month after U.S. Postal Service officials promised a parking lot at Santa Monica’s 7th Street post office, construction is still underway.

Responding to pressure from residents and Congressman Henry Waxman, Postal Officials promised on December 18 that nearly 20 onsite parking spaces would open “in approximately two weeks.” ("New Parking Lot at Santa Monica Post Office Will Open in Two Weeks, Officials Say," December 18, 2013)

However, nearly four weeks later, officials said more work needs to be done before the lot can open.

“The new customer parking lot at the Santa Monica Post Office is not finished,” U.S. Postal Service spokesperson Richard Maher told The Lookout Thursday.

“Work has been completed on the fence/gate,” he said. “The restriping, which will create additional parking spaces, has not been done yet.”

The Postal Service officials said that they had hired a contractor and said work started last week.

However, residents are anxious for the new parking spots to open because they say the current on-street parking configuration is dangerous.

Currently, there are about 40 parking spaces perpendicular to the curb in front of the post office, requiring patrons who use them to back up into two lanes of opposing traffic.

“The way parking is currently set up with the perpendicular spaces on 7th is really dangerous,” David Garden, a local resident, wrote in an email to The Lookout Wednesday. “I nearly witnessed two accidents there during my visit yesterday.”

The 7th Street post office opened on July 1 to replace the 75-year-old post office on 5th Street in Downtown Santa Monica.

Despite protests from dozens of residents, the Postal Service shuttered the Downtown facility, built under President Franklin Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration, and put it on the market.

Postal Officials promised disgruntled residents and Waxman, who attempted to appeal the decision to close the 5th Street facility, that the new facility would be easier to access because it would have more onsite parking.

Spurred by residents’ complaints, Waxman wrote a letter to the Postal Service in December calling for a specific time frame for the opening of the new parking lot.

“I asked one of the managers at the post office why there was still an ‘Authorized Parking Only’ sign on the gate and he had no answer for me,” Garden wrote. “He just shrugged his shoulders.”

Maher said that the “Authorized Parking Only” sign will come down soon.

“We also have new signage ordered that will designate the parking is for USPS customers,” he said.

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