U.S. Post Office officials say the maneuverability of delivery trucks is a “very, very important” safety factor that tops a list of criteria that will help determine whether a future permanent location in New Canaan is on Park Street or Locust Avenue.
A major challenge also has been finding a site that can accommodate a 300-square-foot loading dock, according to Christine Dugas, a USPS spokesperson.
“New Canaan is a small area, a cozy area, so with many sites we looked at that [the loading dock] was a sticking point,” Dugas told NewCanaanite.com. “For example, with one we would’ve had to back down an alley to get the dock—we cannot do that. Honestly, postal vehicles are like Santa’s sleigh—they attract children. They don’t have very good visibility, so we try to avoid backing up on a regular basis, let alone in a narrow alley.”
The two “finalists” for the Post Office site are the lot just beside the former location, at 121 Park St. (see more on that site here), and 16-18 Locust Ave. (roughly opposite Joe’s Pizza). The sites are .19 and .18 acres respectively, according to tax records.
The owner of the Locust Avenue property is out of the country and cannot immediately be reached for comment.
Asked about the prospective site there—and particularly how 18 Locust Ave. will satisfy the Post Office’s parking needs—Dugas said USPS may be looking at “expanded parking within different configurations.”
“If a property does not seem to meet our needs, bear in mind that we could be possibly negotiating with more than one property owner,” she said.
“We are certainly going to do—as any business would—the best possible location for the right price, and meet the needs and criteria we require. It’s a challenge because New Canaan is not wide open spaces, but we want to be perfect because we want to be there another 50 years or longer, so we want to pick the spot that’s best for the community and best meets our needs to stand the test of time.”
Here is a rundown from Dugas on USPS criteria for a future New Canaan site, with comments from her included where applicable:
- At least 3,000 square feet of space all on one floor—“that is because trying to move mail up and down stairs is impossible”;
- Space for service windows (though two may be sufficient);
- Room for the one automated postal kiosk that now sits in the temporary 90 Main St. location—“they’re great, like an ATM bank machine to do transactions and they’re open all the time for everything except money orders and passports”;
- Enough space for a little more than 700 post office boxes;
- Room for two “parcel lockers”—“if someone gets a package, we put a key in the PO box with a note saying they need to go to Parcel Locker 1 or 2, and they can use the key to get a parcel out of it and then that key stays in the parcel locker’s lock”;
- At least 15 parking spaces, including some handicapped spaces—“we are hoping for a parking lot area, since we have leard loud and clear that a lot of people are not happy about parking right on the street right now”;
- In addition to the 15 spaces, two “long-life vehicle” (large Post Office vehicle) spaces and spaces for five employees—“though we could maybe compromise and make them nearby, our contract requires that they be very close”;
- A nearly 300-square-foot loading dock.
USPS is calling for New Canaan residents to send comments on either the proposed Park Street or Locust Avenue properties within a 30-day window (through about March 6) to: Joseph Mulvey, U.S. Postal Service, 2 Congress Street, Room 8, Milford, MA 01757