Parking making you postal? |

Parking making you postal?

Construction of a new pedestrian and bicycle path near the Aspen Post Office has taken away 13 public parking spaces at the facility, leaving some motorists a mite peeved. (Mark Fox/The Aspen TImes)

Is parking at the Aspen Post Office enough to drive you, well, postal?If so, you’re probably not alone, as many motorists report being unable to find a parking space when they go to pick up their mail.But the situation should change soon, say city officials, who are in charge of the trail-building project that is putting a squeeze on parking spaces at the Aspen facility.City crews have spent the past few weeks building a pedestrian and bicycle trail on a 10-foot easement behind the post office, on Puppy Smith Street next to Clark’s Market. This has eliminated 13 parking spaces and has forced the relocation of the facility’s fleet of postal vehicles and employee cars.

The postal vehicles, instead of parking along the back boundary of the property, park along the south boundary, facing the hillside leading up to the city’s Red Brick Arts and Recreation Center.Employees are parking in a small lot alongside Puppy Smith Street near the northern entrance to the facility – well, most of them.The postal service’s Mike Weimer said Monday that he hadn’t noticed employees parking in the customer spaces at the front of the facility. That is, until he spotted an employee’s car sitting at the very end of the public spaces.Still, Weimer said, employees have been instructed not to take up public parking spaces.

He also declared, “We’re going to get our parking back.” When this will happen depends on when city crews finish paving the new trail, which switches back from the existing trail up to the Red Brick before skirting around the back of the post office.City trails coordinator Austin Weiss said the project, in conjunction with a sewer replacement project along the same right of way, should be finished by midweek or so.The project is costing taxpayers about $119,000 and has been on the city’s to-do list since the platting of the easement in 1977, Weiss said.”We feel like it’s a critical connection to get people out of the parking lot there and give them an alternative,” he said.

Weiss also pointed out that the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies, which owns the land next the post office, granted the city a short easement allowing the trail to curve around a clump of mature trees.The deal saved the trees and provided a space for the post office to build a few parking spaces for employees, which should further relieve the crunch for the public spaces out front.John Colson’s e-mail address is

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