An empty parking lot surrounded by a six-foot-tall chain link fence taunts the patrons of the adjacent Atwater Village post office as customers drop off and pick up their mail. Even during the somewhat slower times of the day, there are often times many more patrons than parking spots in the small lot in front of the Glendale Boulevard office, causing a traffic tie up that spills over into the street.
“We just get too much traffic here to not have that lot,” said local resident Kary Hightower of the fenced off lot that was once available to post office customers. “I think someone’s going to get hit”. In a letter sent last year to then Councilman and now mayor Eric Garcetti, Melissa Roth, Safety Director of the Atwater Village Chamber of Commerce, described conditions in the post office parking lot as “anarchy.”
“The community could use another parking lot, obviously,” said Ray Tamaio, who grew up in Atwater Village.
However, the fenced off corner lot that once accommodated up to 20 vehicles was closed last year after the Postal Service decided not to renew the lease as part of a cost-cutting measure. This decision has left 10 spaces available for patrons to park their cars in front of the the Atwater post office, which is officially know as Griffith Station. As a result, there is relatively little that can be done to solve the often annoying and sometimes dangerous traffic situations.
With parking so limited, customers who arrive by car have no choice but to wait, often in the middle of traffic on Glendale Boulevard, or to search for a space on a nearby residential street. Choices are limited by the fact that street parking directly next the post office does not exist, forcing patrons to often drive at least a block away to find the next possible closest parking spot. Complicating matters is that many motorists have to wait on a traffic signal to change before they can make a left turn out of the lot.
Safety issues are a big concern for local residents. Traffic on Glendale Boulevard, one of the busier stretches in the neighborhood, often backs up in front of the post office behind the vehicles waiting to pull into the now-tiny post office lot. One one recent late afternoon, seven cars waited to enter the crowded lot.
“Oftentimes I can’t even get at the drop-off mailbox because people are sitting there, and I don’t blame them in a way because it’s really hard to park,” said Robin McCarthy, Silver Lake resident and graphic designer. “It’s better now that they moved the boxes over,” she said, referring to the recent relocation of the mailboxes from right side of the parking lot to the left side.
Meanwhile, the former post office lot at Glendale Boulevard and La Clede Avenue may not stand empty for long, according to neighborhood council member and Atwater Village Chamber of Commerce director Luis Lopez.
The current owners of the property are seeking to carve up the lot into nine individual parcels as part of a residential development.