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Postal Officials Promised More Parking at New Santa Monica Facility, Residents Say

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By Jason Islas
Staff Writer

December 9, 2013 -- Hoping to relieve what patrons say is a dangerous situation at Santa Monica’s new Seventh Street post office caused by over-crowded street parking, residents are calling for postal officials to make good on a promise to open the facility’s parking lot to the public.

One resident has even taken his protests to his congressional representative, saying that when the USPS closed Santa Monica’s historic Fifth Street Post Office in June, officials promised the new Seventh Street location would have ample parking, both on the street and on site.

“I have been in contact with (Congressman) Henry Waxman's office and Senator Barbara Boxer's office to see if they can force the post office officials to hold true to their word,” said Santa Monica resident David Garden, a retired producer.

While there are about 40 metered parking spaces along Seventh Street, Garden said that postal officials promised on site parking to supplement the spaces on the street.

But five months after the new facility opened, the on site parking, reserved for USPS employees and official vehicles, is still closed to the public.

Garden pointed to a letter, dated October 1, 2012, from USPS Vice President of Facilities Tom Samra.

In the letter, a response to Garden’s protest against the federal agency’s decision to close the Fifth Street facility, Samra writes, “The Santa Monica Carrier Annex (on Seventh Street) will provide customers on site and on street parking.”

Samra was contrasting plans for the future facility with the parking situation at the Fifth Street building, built in 1938 as part of President Franklin Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration (WPA).

“The current location (on Fifth Street) does not have customer parking,” Samra wrote. “The new location is accessible to pedestrians, those who take public transit and those who drive vehicles.”

Garden said the public is still waiting for the promised parking, which he said is a major safety issue.

“It won't be long before someone gets hurt in an accident at the new location,” he said.

Garden isn’t the only one that foresees trouble with the current parking configuration.

Since visitors have to back out of the parking spaces -- positioned perpendicular to the curb along Seventh Street -- into oncoming traffic, many have expressed concern. (“Parking Troubles Patrons at New Santa Monica Post Office,” December 4)

Garden said that officials at Waxman’s office have been responsive and have been in touch with USPS officials about the situation.

USPS representatives were unavailable for comment Friday.

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