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New Parking Lot at Santa Monica Post Office Will Open in Two Weeks, Officials Say

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

By Jason Islas
Staff Writer

December 18, 2013 -- A new parking lot at Santa Monica’s 7th Street post office will open in approximately two weeks, providing an alternative to onstreet parking patrons say is unsafe.

Responding to Congressman Henry Waxman’s concerns, Postal Service officials assured him Friday that plans to open a 19-space parking lot at Santa Monica’s new post office on the corner of 7th Street and Olympic Boulevard is nearing completion.

“We expect construction to be completed in approximately two weeks, at which time 19 onsite customer parking spaces will be available,” USPS Government Relations Representative James Cari wrote in a letter to Waxman Friday.

Postal Service officials also told The Lookout that there would be a bike rack installed near the entrance on 7th Street.

The congressman had sent a letter to the Postmaster General on December 11, in which he explained that patrons to the new post office have complained that parking in the area is dangerous and that the USPS had failed to build onsite spaces. ("Congressman Wants Answers about Santa Monica Post Office Parking," December 12)

In the letter, Waxman noted that the new post office had been open for months without the onsite parking officials had promised.

The new facility, which opened on July 1, replaced the bayside city’s 75-year-old 5th Street post office after Postal Service officials decided to close it and put the historic building up for sale.

Waxman, along with dozens of residents, protested the closure.

Still, Postal Service officials went ahead and shuttered the old facility.

In a June 2012 letter dismissing Waxman’s efforts to appeal the closure, officials said that the new facility would be easier to access partly because it would have onsite parking.

Currently, there are 44 on-street parking spaces, but they are City-owned and residents have complained that their orientation makes using them potentially dangerous. ("Parking Troubles Patrons at New Santa Monica Post Office," December 4)

The spaces, which replaces parking along Colorado Avenue the City removed to make way for the Expo Light Rail, are perpendicular to the curb. That means patrons have to back out into two lanes of oncoming traffic.

“The (C)ity placed meters at these parking spaces and controls the parking there, including the configuration,” Cari wrote Friday.

“Nevertheless, the Postal Service -- which has been in contact with the (C)ity about the relocation of the Main Post Office to 7 th Street since it was first proposed in April of 2012 -- will continue to work with (C)ity officials for an appropriate solution,” he wrote.

City traffic engineers said that had they known that all Downtown Post Office services would be relocated to the 7th Street location, they would have planned the parking differently.

City officials said they are working on a solution.

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