Official: Post office parking may be limited at peak hours

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The return of the U.S. Post Office to the location on North Frederick Street in Cape Girardeau has not marked the end of parking headaches. The renovated office, which opened its doors Sept. 5, has nine spots reserved for customers and about 16 additional 30-minute spots on the street.

Customers seem to think the parking is about the same as it was previously at the Christine Street facility.

"I didn't have any trouble this time, but I think it might be difficult at the busier times. There's not a lot of spaces," said Barbara Schmittzehe, who visited the office at 4 p.m.

She never went to the post office's temporary location on Christine Street because she heard parking was a problem. She thinks an additional location on the west side of town would be helpful.

Postmaster Mike Keefe said making everyone happy is difficult.

"Talking to customers you find if they come in at peak hours around 8:30 a.m. or between 4:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. there might be a problem. But most people I talked to said they found parking available," said Keefe.

Over two years, the Postal Service spent $1.5 million to renovate the Frederick Street building. The renovations included extensive structural repairs to the roof.

Keefe said the parking is roughly equivalent to that at Christine Street but added that the current parking layout is safer. The Christine Street lot had tight parking in three different directions while Frederick Street has parallel street parking and angled customer parking.

One customer agreed that the parking configuration is an improvement.

"It's more open over here. You can just park and roll on out in either direction. At the other place you took the chance of backing into someone," Charles Jones of Cape Girardeau said.

Keefe said getting more parking on Frederick Street is not an option. "We're not in a position to buy up more property just for parking, so since we plan to be here for a while, this is going to be the parking situation we'll have," Keefe said.

The post office did take a step to alleviate traffic concerns, requesting the city place stop signs on Bellevue Street at the corner of Frederick. Bellevue previously was an east-west through street.

A city study found the traffic load at 364 vehicles per hour, sufficient to justify the added stop signs. In addition, 14 accidents had occurred at the intersection over a three-year time frame, enough to meet the "accident warrant" used as a threshold for stop-sign additions.

The signs went up early this month.

Keefe also indicated the post office has conducted a survey on the possibility of opening a second sub-station similar to the one currently at the Bi-State Oil on North Kingshighway. He said officials are looking at locations near West Park Mall.

335-6611, extension 245

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