Opinion: Arcadia Post Office Has a Screw Loose – Really

By Terry Miller for the Arcadia Weekly

Arcadia's Mail Box's use is now restricted. Photo by Terry Miller. – Beacon Media News.

Arcadia’s Mail Box’s use is now restricted. File photo by Terry Miller. – Beacon Media News.

In the last couple of weeks, we’ve been reporting on the rather unusual relocation of the drive-through mail boxes behind Arcadia’s main post office to the street on Santa Clara.

The placement of these boxes now has caused considerable controversy over who is to blame. Is it the Postmaster, the city of Arcadia, or the Gold Line’s responsibility?

We have received a large volume of letters and ‘phone calls on this matter as you’ll read on in our ‘Letters to the Editor’ page in this week’s edition.

According to a source at the Post Office in Arcadia, the city apparently demanded the good old drive-through be relocated in preparation for a fence being erected around the Post Office campus. This, we discovered, is false.

Other rumors circulating like the “lost letter files” are that Santa Clara will become a one-way street and that the 24 Hour Fitness Parking lot is slated for mixed use development once the Gold Line starts to bring passengers into Arcadia in 2015. No word on this yet.

So we e-mailed the city and Rep. Judy Chu’s office to get up-to-speed so to speak about this latest twist in the ongoing postal saga. Mailing a letter seemed a little dangerous, at least if you mail it from Arcadia.

According to third-hand information we received there have been some inaccuracies in some of the stories being circulated. The city says the local Post Master is concerned that Gold Line patrons will be using the post office back lot as a parking lot. In an effort to avoid the problem, they want to fence the lot. This is 100% their idea, according to our sources. The city has not told them they had to fence their lot.

The Post Office moved the bins to the city right-of-way without their knowledge in preparation for constructing the fence. The city immediately told them that this was an unsafe location and that the boxes had to be relocated – which, of course they have not.

Arcadia prefers the option of putting things back where they were and putting the fence behind (to the south) of the turnout area. This would meet everyone’s goals – the parking area would be fenced and the boxes would be in a safe and logical location. The Post Master has never given us a reason why this is not possible; however, they instead want to move the boxes to either the alleyway at the side of the building (which would necessitate making the alley one-way) or in front of the Post Office on Wheeler. Given those options, the city prefers the Wheeler option, with the boxes being placed on the Post Office lot back from the curb to discourage quick parking on Wheeler. Both of these alternatives are vastly inferior to the original location. The city continues to speak with the Post Master and hope to have a resolution shortly.

We asked Jason Kruckeberg, Arcadia’s Assistant City Manager and Development Services Director to comment on the situation:

“The first we heard of the Post Office’s plan to relocate the boxes was when they called our Engineering Department to request curb painting after the boxes had already been moved. There is no city-related reason why they were moved. We have issues with the new location not only for the obvious safety reasons related to dropping off mail in a red-curb, no-parking zone, but also vision clearance problems from the nearby driveway, and the fact that the boxes will block pedestrian access along the sidewalk, and ADA access for persons with disabilities, once a fence is installed.

We have been told by the Post Office that the reason for the relocation was because they are concerned that their parking lot will be utilized by those who may use the Gold Line station in the future. They would like to fence their lot to secure it. We believe they could still secure their lot and leave the drive-through they have had on their property for years, but this does not appear to be something they are amenable to. Since they have relocated the boxes, our Engineering Department has been working with them on an alternative location. For safety reasons, the City does not want the boxes be directly accessed from the street along Santa Clara or First Avenue.

“There are no plans that we are aware of for paid parking in the Gold Line structure at this point. As you know, the Gold Line station and structure are more than a year away from opening. And, there are no plans for any one-way streets.”

Rumors are funny things, and we as human beings get caught up sometimes. We had heard from a postal employee that one mail box had been vandalized. But in checking with our boys in blue (a young woman, Kristin Anderson, Crime Analyst for Arcadia PD in this case) at Arcadia PD, there was no report of vandalism to the mail box. It was a simple matter of a “loose screw” according to the temporary Postmaster. That was well over a week ago. As of November 18, the “loose screw” is still, well, loose and remains thus leaving only two (not-really-drive-through) post boxes for those brave enough to step out into traffic to mail their Thanksgiving and Christmas cards.

The primary reason for us even touching this story is that Arcadia has a large population of senior citizens, many of whom are handicapped and getting out of a car to mail a letter is problematic and in many cases impossible. Especially, when the mail boxes face north. This is not rocket science, is it?

Perhaps the rates will increase again and they’ll be able to afford a screwdriver to at least fix the box.

Source Beacon Media News