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Turn lane near Park Rapids post office bothers some

Postal patrons have complained that this right turn lane has gobbled up scarce parking spaces around the post office. The city engineer said he will look at the area to see if a compromise can be reached. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)

If a new business tried to relocate on the site of the Park Rapids post office, it wouldn't get a permit.

Not enough parking.

And with the completion of West Third Street and the addition of a turn lane on the side street adjoining the post office, postmaster Denice Phillips-Kunze is getting an earful.

"I know" people are pretty upset "but I have no control over that," Phillips-Kunze acknowledged.

"That's all I can tell them (the complainers) is to go to the city because I have no control over that," she repeated. "We have no parking as it is and then take the little bit I have away..."

"The post office... is one of the consistently busiest places in Park Rapids," said Park Rapids resident Thomas Swinson in an e-mail to the Enterprise.  "Yet, all of the parking spaces on the 3rd Street side have been eliminated following the recent street repairs. This leaves only three or four parking spaces available to postal customers in front of the building on busy Highway 71.

"What possible logic would call for this?  All of the commercial parking spaces elsewhere along 3rd Street have been left intact, leaving only the post office customers with nowhere to park unless they want to try to block the few spaces in front of "other businesses along the avenue.

"Post office parking spaces on 3rd Street have been there since the place was built in 1938," Swinson maintained.  "Now, even more than in the past, they are needed for both city and rural customers to send and receive packages and bundles of mail.  Additionally, this poses a danger to those postal customers brave enough to try crossing traffic-clogged Highway 71 on foot with an arm full of packages."

City engineer Jon Olson said the corner has always been painted yellow to allow for right turns. Because traffic is so heavy on Highway 71, traffic planners didn't want the side street traffic backing up if vehicles could safely make a right turn at that corner.

"We shortened up that turn lane," he said, to allow for some diagonal parking on the side street.

"It's a work in progress," he said. He said he would take another look at the corner to see if something can be done to add some parking spaces around the post office, while still allowing safe entry to the highway.

Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.

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