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Line For Post Office Parking Garage Two Blocks Long

June 7, 2016 Downtown, Featured, Parking, Transportation 23 Comments

Recently I saw a line of cars Eastbound on Market waiting to turn right onto 16th to park in a parking garage. For the Blues playoffs? Big concert at Scottrade Center? No, shift change at the main post office. Seriously.

At right a white car waits on 18th St to turn right onto Market St, 6:50am on 5/26/2016
At right a white car waits on 18th St to turn right onto Market St, 6:50am on 5/26/2016
Thew line of cars you see aren't parked on Market, they're in the outside drive lane in a line to access the USPS parking garage
Thew line of cars you see aren’t parked on Market, they’re in the outside drive lane in a line to access the USPS parking garage
These cars, between 16th-17th, are also waiting. The parking is on the upper level(s) of the addition to the main post office shown in the background
These cars, between 16th-17th, are also waiting. The parking is on the upper level(s) of the addition to the main post office shown in the background
This view shows cars waiting next to a line of cars parked on the street
This view shows cars waiting next to a line of cars parked on the street
Looking East from 17th the waiting cars are now against the curb because parking isn't allowed on this block
Looking East from 17th the waiting cars are now against the curb because parking isn’t allowed on this block
When a car exists another is allowed to enter. Supervisors don;t wait in line, they come up from 16th and enter upon arrival.
When a car exists another is allowed to enter. Supervisors don;t wait in line, they come up from 16th and enter upon arrival.

A postal employee waiting in line told me this was a routine shift change…waiting for parking. Another said the garage has about 300 spaces…and exposed rebar. I was unable to determine when the addition was added to the East of the main post office. I’d guess 1960s or 70s.

While I did see some workers arrive via Madison County Transit, more need to consider public transit, car pooling, etc. All these running cars, polluting my neighborhood, waiting to park is unacceptable.  Recently I posted about intersections that bookend the post office, on 16th & 18th.

— Steve Patterson

 

Currently there are "23 comments" on this Article:

  1. JZ71 says:

    You’re sounding more and more like a crotchety old “get off my lawn” guy. These are people who are working downtown (and have been, for decades), parking in a garage (not on the street or in a surface lot), and not blocking the sidewalks or the crosswalks. You chose to live in a busy, urban neighborhood, and this garage and these jobs have been there for far longer than you and your husband. You say “take transit”, the more likely scenario is to move the sectional center facility out of downtown, altogether (as has happened in many other cities), consolidating those jobs in Hazelwood. Be careful what you ask for – the city does not need more jobs leaving downtown! http://about.usps.com/news/state-releases/co/2012/co_2012_0223c.htm . . . http://www.denverinfill.com/subpages_special_topics/annex.htm . . . https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sectional_center_facility . . . https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Network_Distribution_Center

     
    • For over 11 years I’ve been observing problems — problems you accept as inevitable. I prefer to get them into the open so they can be solved, or at least mitigated. Other than pollution the problems are: workers coming to work must leave home early and waste time sitting in their cars, customers coming/going are inconvenienced, increased risk for an accident with cars stopped in the driving lane. But you don’t care about any of this.

       
      • Mark-AL says:

        Steve, you know that no matter how the Universe might be constructed or how the events of that Universe might have been recorded, the only issues that determine the truth of an argument are those that apply directly to the particular argument. Each argument must be capable of standing on its own. To paint JZ71’s opinions, past and present, with a broad brush is rigid and makes your statement (above) unpersuadable. Give credit where it is due. And when you disagree, state your position, then drop it. (An opinion proffered by a wanna-be goat farmer)

         
        • JZ71 says:

          I “accept as inevitable” that urban living is, and will remain, messy, full of minor (and not-so-minor) conflicts. Your concerns about air quality and traffic congestion are just straw men for your perceptions about what constitutes the “correct” uses of city streets. I’ve never heard of this queue obstructing traffic, and the air quality issues generated by the trucking side of the equation far exceed those generated by the workers . . . but if the trucks go away, so do the cars AND the jobs!

          This facility is a relic from the time when the bulk of our mail moved by rail (thus its location next to Union Station). For the USPS, their operation would function far more efficiently if they moved this facility out of downtown, closer to one or more freeways, leaving just a small retail outlet to serve downtown customers. Combine that with the continued overall decline in mail volumes and continuing budget problems in the postal service, and you have the perfect scenario for justifying the closure of an old / underused / obsolete / apparently-in-need-of-major-maintenance facility. And adding more costs to lease more parking or to build another garage are just more reasons for that to happen sooner than later.

          And while transit could certainly be an option for some of their current workers, why would postal workers be any different than those of any other employer downtown? People CHOOSE how they’re going to commute, based on what works best for each one of them, individually. I’m guessing that “free” parking, here, is one of the perks of this job, likely negotiated in a union contract (unlike free or discounted transit passes), just like it is at most other USPS facilities, plus Metro may or may not work for these workers’ schedules, no matter how much more the cost of using transit is subsidized. What you see as a “problem”, I see as a positive indicator of economic activity . . .

           
  2. Mark-AL says:

    Tennyson warned of “The Dust and Din and Steam of Town”. The alternatives? 1) The Postal Service can build an additional parking garage to accommodate the postal workers; 2) Offended downtown residents can move to Chesterfield, where the air is clean and fresh. I favor the new parking garage, although the air in Chesterfield is sweet!!!

     
    • It’s not that simplistic, but here are a few possible solutions: :
      1. Arrange to use the Kiel garage
      2. Offer employees transit pass or carpool incentives
      3. Alter shift schedule

       
      • Mark-AL says:

        The Kiel Garage serves Scottrade Center, primarily. The Treasurer’s contract with Scottrade Center stipulates that X-number of parking spaces will be available for their events. To allow postal employees to park in that garage and to guarantee space availability to them probably couldn’t happen, since Scottrade events are scheduled at varying times of the day and night…. The spaces are entirely sold out for Blues events (many are pre-sold) , just as they are for Sesame Street Live and other kids’ and adult events. It’s the premier garage of downtown, IMO. Perhaps vertical expansion of the garage is feasible, depending on the initial structural design. But even if the existing footings, grade beams, beams and girders are adequately sized to support additional loading, and if electrical service is capable of additional loading, elevators would also have to be altered which is a major expense (I think most of those elevators are hydraulic, and if so, they’ll only travel “so-high”), and with additional occupancy comes a need for even more elevators, which isn’t as easy as adding salt to the soup.

        I think most people use or don’t use mass transit or participate in carpools NOT because of the costs or savings associated using it, but rather because of the convenience or inconvenience. I doubt that clean air is enough of an incentive to change their mind. It hasn’t so far, despite the pleas.

        I’ve observed 3 shift changes, I think, at the post office location.With only 300 available parking spaces, I wonder if more shift changes would improve the situation much. I guess it would depend on which employees commuted via car vs. mass transit. But that might be an option to pursue, provided post office officials would be willing to deal with logistical challenges that might be a factor.

         
        • Mark-AL says:

          ……….another possible solution to the post office’s parking problem: they can negotiate a deal with the Treasurer either to purchase the Williams Paper parking lot across the street, or to lease a portion of the lot for postal employees’ use only. A fence could be erected to secure the post office spaces, and a card reader could be provided at the gate to control use of the post office’s portion. But the postal employees might object to having to walk 1/2 block from the lot to the post office building. And given the liberal climate today, the objectors may just squelch the deal.

           
  3. mjohnson says:

    There are multiple signs saying that waiting cars are not allowed to idle. Supposedly offenders are written tickets.

     
    • Mark-AL says:

      Good point. I think that most people still think that letting a car idle is cheaper than starting it up, that the burst of fuel needed to start an engine far exceeds the amount of fuel needed to idle a car. But with electronic fuel systems used on today’s vehicles, it is cheaper to allow the engine to stop and restart vs allowing it to idle. But typically, only one car exits the post office garage in a given period, and obviously only one car can then enter the garage to replace the car that had just exited. So it may take 10 minutes (or more) to gain first place in the queue. It may take some education to help the employees see the light.

       
  4. mjohnson says:

    This queue line has been at the Post Office for decades. IIRC it used to go southbound down 16th Street and would run as far back as the old Amtrak shack. But they moved it a couple of years ago for some reason.

    I guess that even though this Post Office location has been there for almost 90 years, Steve would prefer if it left his downtown.

     
    • No, I’m just trying to find a solution to an ongoing problem.

       
      • JZ71 says:

        You’ve lived downtown for years, yet you’ve just “discovered” this “problem”?! As mjohnson points out, this has been going on for decades, kind of like Cardinals games, various parades and cruising on Washington. It’s part of urban living. Congestion reflects density and economic activity; a lack of congestion reflects the opposite. Pick your poison – urban living is messy!

         
        • Mail isn’t an important part of my life, but lately I’ve taken to mailing Netflix DVDs at the post office because it gets there faster than the outgoing mail at our building.

           
  5. Fozzie says:

    You really can’t see the forest through the trees with your audacious remarks.

     
  6. Gus says:

    I pinged a friend who’s worked at the downtown Post Office for years. Steve may very well get his wish as my friend says the facility won’t be around much longer. All building maintenance has stopped and bigwigs are coming from DC soon to tour the place in advance of killing it off.

    So hopefully we’ll get rid of more cars and workers so that downtown residents aren’t bothered by them.

     

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