10.24.13

Rep. Schiff to Postal Service – Don't Proceed With Relocation of WeHo San Vicente Post Office

West Hollywood, CA –Today, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) called on U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to cancel plans for the relocation of retail operations at the West Hollywood Branch Post Office on San Vicente Boulevard.  In a letter to the USPS, Schiff expressed his concern that relocation to the proposed site will not adequately compensate for closure of retail services at the existing San Vicente site and will pose a tremendous inconvenience to the city’s residents.

Schiff is a supporter of a larger, more comprehensive approach to the USPS’s financial troubles and is a co-sponsor of the Postal Service Protection Act (H.R. 630), which would allow the USPS to use the funds it has previously overpaid in retirement benefit liabilities to meet the prefunding requirement.

The full letter to the USPS about the West Hollywood branch is below:

Diana Alvarado
Pacific Facilities Service Office
U.S. Postal Service
1300 Evans Avenue, Ste. 200
San Francisco, CA 94188-8200

Ms. Alvarado,

I am writing to follow up on a letter I sent to your office dated May 21, 2013 in which I strongly urged the United States Postal Service (USPS) not to proceed with the relocation of retail operations at the West Hollywood Branch Post Office, located at 820 N. San Vicente Boulevard. I am aware that the City of West Hollywood has since been notified that the new proposed site for retail operations of the West Hollywood Branch Post Office is located half a mile away at 458 Doheny Drive. I, along with the city’s representatives and residents, have concerns that relocation to this proposed site will not adequately compensate for closure of retail services at the existing San Vicente location and will pose a tremendous inconvenience to the city’s residents.

First, I am concerned that the new proposed location, which is located on the western end of the city’s boundary, is not centrally-located and will, therefore, be less accessible for many in the community. The San Vicente office has enjoyed the loyal patronage of local residents for many years -- particularly seniors, the disabled, and others who rely on non-vehicle transportation -- precisely because of the fact that it is located in a pedestrian-friendly and publicly accessible area. Though I understand that USPS has stated it would seek relocation at a space that is available via sidewalks and public transit, I share the City’s concerns that this proposed site will not meet accessibility expectations given its location at the edge of the city rather than closer to its core.

Secondly, I remain strongly opposed to the conversion of the San Vicente office into a mail processing center. Though the USPS may believe that the ensuing addition of carrier vehicles traveling to and from the San Vicente location will have a minimal effect on traffic and noise pollution, I share the City’s reservations that the additional vehicles will create more traffic and noise pollution in an already congested and commercial area of the city.

Finally, I share the City’s concerns that the proposed land use change may result in a depressed “dead zone” on San Vicente Boulevard. As you know, San Vicente Boulevard is among one of the busiest streets in the city and its commercial success relies heavily on regular foot-traffic. I am concerned that the San Vicente facility, as a mail processing center, will result in a decline of its maintenance and upkeep, thereby having a negative impact on neighboring commercial properties. In a similar regard, I worry that additional traffic activity at the new site on Doheny Drive would have a negative impact on the surrounding residential properties.

I thank the USPS for taking these important concerns into consideration before moving on with its proposal. I understand that the USPS is operating under great financial distress and is taking steps to recover its financial health. However, taking a piecemeal approach of selling off a small number of postal facilities and redistributing the retail operations of facilities -- such as the one on San Vicente Boulevard -- to another facility will do nothing to help USPS’s financial health recuperate and will instead place an undue burden on many local residents. As I have stated in the past, I urge USPS to pursue a larger, more comprehensive approach to its financial troubles, which involves reallocating funds of previously overpaid retirement benefit liabilities to meet its prefunding requirement. I am a co-sponsor of the Postal Service Protection Act (H.R. 630), a bill in Congress which would do just that.

I echo the sentiments of the West Hollywood City Council in urging USPS to reassess its decision to relocate the retail operations of the San Vicente Boulevard Post Office to the facility on 458 Doheny Drive. This plan will put West Hollywood residents and businesses at a great disadvantage and will do little to recoup savings for the USPS. I look forward to hearing from you on this important issue and thank you for your reconsideration.