U.S. Rep. Christopher Van Hollen (D-MD) is once again calling on the U.S. Postal Service to relocate the new Bethesda post office, which has no parking for patrons.
In a July 27 letter to USPS, he called the site selection “misguided” and said the USPS “misrepresented its procedures and stated priorities” in choosing a site with no parking.
USPS recently at 7001 Arlington Rd. and 7400 Wisconsin Ave. and consolidated them at the new location at 6900 Wisconsin Ave. The consolidation is part of a nationwide effort by USPS to consolidate or close post offices in the face of declining revenues.
With no dedicated parking at the new site, those who park next door in the lot for Mattress Discounters and Verizon are subject to being towed, and the lack of convenient parking has drawn fire from the community.
Van Hollen first called on USPS to relocate the new facility in a June 19 letter, at the new site.
In a July 6 response, USPS government relations representative Darrell Donnelly said attempts to sublease parking from the commercial tenants next door were unsuccessful.
“While we did not anticipate this issue, we were under pressure to complete the building lease due to the expiration of occupancy of our two previously sold facilities,” Donnelly wrote.
“Given the severe shortage of retail space in this intensely developed urban community, we made the decision to proceed with the building lease and continue to seek a resolution to the parking concerns. It should be noted that the lack of parking is not at all unusual in similar intensely developed urban environments ... the parking concerns were considered, but could not be the sole basis for not proceeding with this project.”
In his July 27 letter, however, Van Hollen blasted the response.
“It is hard to believe that the lease for the space at 6900 Wisconsin Avenue was executed by USPS before ensuring the availability of parking,” Van Hollen wrote. “Any effort to blame a third party now for USPS’ failure is simply unacceptable.”
Van Hollen called Donnelly’s assertion that USPS was under a time crunch to move into the new facility “unfounded,” writing that the USPS never requested an extension of the lease at the previous 7400 Wisconsin Avenue location.
He also took issue with the Postal Service for assuring the community before the site was selected that the new location would have parking.
“The USPS’ misrepresentation of its policies and stated priorities has become the source of the community’s outrage at the misguided selection of this location,” Van Hollen wrote.
The Postal Service is in search of an additional Bethesda post office location that would provide parking for patrons, according to Donnelly’s letter.
Read correspondence between Van Hollen and USPS attached to this article.