Mon10202014

News

First Street mail drop-boxes to get new home


Photo By: Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Photo Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier The city may soon relocate the five U.S. Postal Service collection boxes on First Street to a pair of downtown parking plaza sites. The boxes receive 2,000 pieces of mail daily.

The five U.S. Postal Service drive-thru collection boxes along First Street will soon have new homes. Exactly where, however, remains to be seen.

The Los Altos City Council June 25 directed the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission to review the $9,000 proposal to relocate four of the five mailboxes – currently across the road from the former post office site on First Street – to two downtown parking plazas.

The decision for review results from Los Altos Public Works Director Jim Gustafson’s explanation that the relocation of the mail collection area, accessed by motorists via a drive-thru lane on the First Street sidewalk, is needed as a safety measure. He said the area is likely to see increased pedestrian traffic following the First Street streetscape construction and additional projects, including Safeway, the 100 First St. condominium complex and the 400 Main St. mixed-use development.

“As First Street has progressed, a need has been identified to kind of ‘de-conflict’ the pedestrian-vehicle situation at the First Street array of mailboxes,” said Gustafson, who noted that the five boxes collectively receive approximately 2,000 pieces of mail daily.

A city staff report recommended that two of the boxes be relocated to the end of a drive aisle in Parking Plaza 2 near Second Street and two placed at the end of a drive aisle in Parking Plaza 3, behind Chase Bank near Third Street.

The second location, however, proved to be a point of contention. Councilwoman Megan Satterlee said the proposed Plaza 3 drop-off location offered limited vehicle access, noting that the aisle – and by extension, the mailboxes – could only be accessed by motorists via a plaza entrance at San Antonio Road near Main Street.

“I don’t think that (Plaza 3) location is going to provide the convenience that people expect,” she said. “I think there’s going to be a lot of complaints and disuse.”

Councilwoman Val Carpenter agreed, calling the Plaza 3 location “terrible,” while offering an alternative suggestion.

“You’ll be shocked to hear this – I’m actually willing to give up a parking place or two in order to achieve a location there,” she said. “I appreciate that staff has tried not to impact any of the current parking in that parking plaza, but I think that is an important aspect that we should have.”

Councilwoman Jeannie Bruins, meanwhile, questioned whether one of the proposed drop-box locations might be better situated in a parking plaza closer to State Street.

Gustafson told the Town Crier that the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission would review the proposal later this summer. No date has been confirmed.

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