Steamboat Springs 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.