On-street parking near the main post office on Seventh Street has been re-configured — again.
Concerned about collisions involving cars and pedestrians, city officials last week ripped out perpendicular parking spaces, re-striped the street and returned the spots to parallel parking with meters.
City officials reconfigured the parking spaces originally to create more spaces after the Exposition Light Rail Construction Authority removed dozens of metered parking spots along Colorado Avenue to make room for the train. Spaces were made perpendicular along several side streets, including Seventh.
Sam Morrissey, city traffic engineer, said the perpendicular spaces worked fine initially, but when the post office was moved to Seventh Street from its old home on Fifth Street, activity increased, creating a potentially dangerous situation as people had to back up too far into traffic when leaving their parking spots.
Postal officials sold the New Deal-era Downtown post office on Fifth Street for $25 million as part of a nationwide plan to sell off assets and cover a multi-billion-dollar budget shortfall caused by a drop in the number of packages mailed as well as increased retirement and healthcare costs.
Before the parking changes were made, there were a total of 39 spaces on Seventh Street, counting both sides, Morrissey said. By converting to perpendicular, six additional spaces were gained for a total of 45. Now it’s back to 19 spots on the post office side of the street. The other side has no parking as city officials removed spots to make way for Big Blue Bus layover zones.
City officials are planning to make up for that loss by creating parking elsewhere in Downtown — on Second and Seventh streets, as well as other locations — where there are currently old layover zones.
Post office officials last month opened a parking lot for customers with 20 spots, including one for handicapped drivers.