CDOT: Traffic changes at post office correct

State: No action needed at downtown post office facing customer increase

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— A state transportation official said last week that staff at Steamboat’s downtown post office acted correctly in altering traffic flow to handle an expected increase of customers.

The post office at Third Street and U.S. Highway 40 faces increased use next week after an expected Friday closure of retail postal services at the Sundance at Fish Creek branch off Anglers Drive. That branch has about 2,600 postal boxes, which will stay at Sundance at least until March 15 and possibly longer if current lease negotiations are successful. But the downtown post office likely will see an influx of new customers seeking shipping or other services, and members of the public in recent weeks have expressed concern to the Steamboat Springs City Council about downtown traffic impacts.

Zane Znamenacek, regional operations engineer for the Colorado Department of Transportation, wrote in an e-mail last week that the impacts would not be enough to require the downtown branch to coordinate new traffic plans with CDOT.

“The post office has not circumvented any CDOT process with respect to access to Hwy. 40. The changes occurring do not trigger the CDOT Access process, and therefore require no action on the part of the post office with CDOT,” Znamenacek wrote. “Additionally, the post office and the city of Steamboat Springs have already implemented circulation changes to the post office traffic that mitigate much of the traffic issues that might occur between post office customers and Hwy. 40.”

Steamboat Springs Post­master Tim O’Brien has said that should the U.S. Postal Service end retail operations at the Sundance branch, four Sundance employees will move to the downtown branch, where O’Brien has adjusted traffic patterns by setting up a counterclockwise flow in the parking lot and allowing vehicles to exit only with a right turn onto Third Street.

Bob Larson, manager of Sundance at Fish Creek, said negotiations with the U.S. Postal Service to keep the postal boxes at Sundance past March are progressing well.

“I had a good conversation with them on Friday, and we’re a little closer than we were. It’s looking good from my perspective,” Larson said Sunday. “Right now, we’re just at the paperwork phase.”

Larson said he will continue talks with the Postal Service today. Steamboat Springs Public Works Director Philo Shelton is meeting with CDOT officials today to discuss traffic issues.

Larson said although he supports appeals by at least two citizens to federal authorities seeking to stop service closures at Sundance, he is not optimistic.

“If that were to be worked out, we could certainly accommodate that at Sundance,” he said about continued postal retail. “But I don’t think that’s very likely to happen.”

Larson said even if retail services close Friday, a date for demolition of those facilities is unclear.

“We have been talking about that, but the exact date isn’t certain to me,” he said. “No construction will occur until we have a signed lease, and no demolition will occur until we have a signed lease — and we don’t have a signed lease yet.”

Shipping and other postal retail services also are available at PostNet, in the 1600 block of Mid Valley Drive near the Staples store in southern Steamboat, and at The UPS Store in Central Park Plaza. Some services are offered at an increased price.

Comments

WZ007 4 years, 7 months ago

Here are some facts: - the number of PO Boxes in Sundance Plaza is 2,584. These people use Sundance Counter for their postal services. - the number of boxes downtown is 5,200. These people use the Downtown Post Office counter for their services. - the number of counter stations in Sundance Plaza is 3. - the number of counter stations in the Downtown Post Office is 4.

So lets do some mathematics: - customers for 2,584 boxes must do their counter business downtown after Sundance Closes on January 15 2010. Downtown currently has customers from 5,200 boxes which means an increase of 50% when Sundance counter service closes. Of course, we must add to the downtown and the Sundance office those customers use have home delivery who use the counters in each location. Since the Sundance covers the Mountain area, and this is as large as downtown, plus major rural communities live to the south making Sundance an easier option, Sundance will have a similar counter service from home delivery customers as downtown. I see no logic to change the ratios. So, de facto, you have an access increase of 50% that is well above the CDOT 20% threshold. - There are 3 counter stations in Sundance and 4 counter stations in downtown. Shut the Sundance counters and you need to add the load of 3 to the load of 4 downtown. That is a 75% increase. This is also significantly above the CDOT threshold of 20% for access approval from Hwy 40.

Sure, Postnet and UPS offer some of the Postal services but at an increased price over the Post Office. Stamps etc are marked up. Don't get me wrong, I use their services for shipping UPS, Fedex etc and find them to be excellent. What about insured mail, certified mail, delivery confirmation with return card and passports!!!

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