Letter to the editor: three ideas for improving downtown post office traffic flow



Now that the new post office has been in place nearly a year, I believe the time has come to improve the traffic flow for safety and efficiency of operations. As a post office box holder, I visit the post office nearly every day. I see frustrated patrons who are trying to park and take care of their business in a block that simply is not designed for the specific traffic needs the of the post office.

I have witnessed several near-fender benders as well as pedestrians crossing mid-block coming close to being hit. Cars park in front of the apartment driveway and the fire hydrant while the drivers go into the post office for some purpose. I have seen vehicles parked blocking the sidewalk south of the post office forcing pedestrians into the street. Mid-block U-turns are common, with many drivers turning into a driveway and then backing out into traffic in order to claim a parking place across the street. One of these days someone is going to be injured, and that may be preventable.

I believe that a relatively inexpensive upgrading of the street, coupled with the capability of a drive-up mailbox, could solve many of the problems. Here are my suggestions.

1. Make Second Avenue North one-way northbound for one block between Main Street and Bell.

2. Eliminate the southern two parking places on the west side of Second Avenue North across from the post office and place a drive-up mailbox so drivers can deposit mail without leaving their cars. This would eliminate the need for many to have to park at all. It might also allow removal of the apparently little-used drive-up mailbox by the library.

3. Put a mid-block crosswalk at some convenient point to allow protected pedestrian crossing of Second Avenue North for those who park on the west side of the street.

I believe these changes would cause minimum disruption to the residents on that street while improving the traffic flow and safety of the post office patrons.

Bruce Caldwell


  1. #1 is too much of an inconvenience for residents wanting to go south on 2nd.

    An additional remedy to those suggested would be much greater use of the parking garage.

  2. Can anyone comment as to why there is no parking lot for the post office? Or drop box? I feel we lost something in the upgrade of our post office. It looks great, the employees are great, but parking is a mess.

  3. The library mailbox does get used; there are times that it is completely full. I agree on the drive up mail box with you. There is handicapped parking IN the garage; really??? Not very easy for someone to use that is handicapped.

  4. I agree with Mr. Caldwell on all points. The parking garage is nice but do patrons realize it is available for them? Is there signage letting people know that there is free post office parking in the garage? For people that just need to drop off a letter it is ridiculous that they have to park at all. Not having a drive up mailbox is just bad planning. Not making the block a one way because it would be inconvenient to residents that want to go south is a poor excuse. One block out of the way, if it could prevent accidents and be more efficient for the postal customers is not too much to ask of the few residents that ‘want’ to go south. I drive to other post offices to avoid the frustration.

      • Mr. Caldwell stated the following.
        ” 1. Make Second Avenue North one-way northbound for one block between Main Street and Bell.”
        That being clearly stated, I do not understand where you came up with 3 blocks?

    • I thought that parking lot was for the residents of the apartments above the post office. Signage would be a good way to help people know what it is really for.

  5. With all the mail box thefts, it’s been years since we’ve put a letter out for the mail carrier to pick up. We ALWAYS use the drive-up box at the library.

  6. A couple thoughts: it would be interesting to know what the current volume of mail is at the library drive-up drop box. My sense as a frequent user of that box it is heavily used. If so, placing a drive up box at the post office would attract more traffic volume there and make an already congested space even more congested. It may be better to leave the lone downtown drive up box where it is and focus on improving the parking configuration for patrons who need to go into the post office. Part of that solution is to raise awareness of the available garage parking and part is to set aside additional disabled and “5 minute” parking spaces such as those we used to have on Main St. in front of the old post office.

    • I agree! I also see the postal box at the Library being used a lot. It is not uncommon to see 2 or more cars lined up dropping off mail. As another Person commented, it is nice to not have to go into Downtown and deal with lights and pedestrians just to drop off mail.
      Bottom line to this is it was just poor planning for this new post office.

    • Good thoughts, Dave. There now is virtually no parking available for visitors to nearby residences. So before taking away anymore of the 3-hr spots there needs to be enforcement to eliminate the numerous “campers” who “camp out” there all day, day after day.

  7. Just wait until the condos and retail places are in where the old PO was. It will make for interesting YouTube footage.

    • yup!

      OR . . .

      before the construction of the new building commences, hopefully still in the planning stages – have some public meetings on the whole block, including the post office and drop-off mail

  8. I like Mr. Caldwell’s suggestions. I use the drop box at the library and the P.O. in Lynnwood, also the handicapped spot in the underground garage. The garage does seem underutilized. However, if that changes as customers become more aware, i can envision, underground gridlock with drivers going in and out, trying to turn around etc. A separate designated exit would have been a good idea.

  9. I would like to make a 4th suggestion: make the 2nd and Bell a 4-way stop, similar to the 4th and Bell setup, in order to reduce the risk of car accidents in a highly used area.


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