Parking solution for Bethesda USPS customers -- Gazette.Net







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U.S. Postal Service customers at 6900 Wisconsin Ave. now can use a nearby underground parking garage, after a summer without a dedicated parking lot.

Postal service customers previously were forced to find metered spaces or risk being towed from a parking lot shared by Mattress Discounters and Verizon Wireless.

Now, customers can park in Adagio’s underground parking garage and have their parking tickets validated after completing postal transactions, according to a press release from USPS.

Adagio is a condominium at 6820 Wisconsin Ave.

Spots for patrons of local businesses are kept separate from those of residents, wrote USPS spokesman George T. Maffett Jr. in an email. Postal customers may park in any spot available to patrons of qualifying local businesses. There are an adequate number of spaces and no postal customers have been towed, he wrote.

Postal customers will be allowed up to two hours of parking, with additional charges beyond two hours, according to the press release. Customers may enter the Adagio parking garage from Bradley Boulevard and take the elevator to the street level on Wisconsin Avenue.

USPS is paying $2,500 per month for the privilege, in a lease that ends May 2017 with an option to renew for an additional five years, Maffett wrote.

“I am pleased that the USPS recognized the importance of the issue, but it remains to be seen if the resolution it has proposed will meet the community’s needs,” wrote U.S. Rep. Christopher Van Hollen Jr. (D-Dist. 8) in an email. “I look forward to hearing from constituents as we continue to work on this issue.”

The USPS opened an office at 6900 Wisconsin Ave. in June, after closing two area post offices, including one at 7001 Arlington Road that featured ample parking. The closures were part of ongoing efforts to provide quality service while shrinking its network of facilities, USPS spokeswoman Laura Dvorak previously wrote in an email.

Van Hollen has been critical of the way the postal service managed the recent consolidation of its facilities in Bethesda, and repeatedly called for a new location with parking.

He sent letters of complaint to Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe on June 19 and July 27, expressing disappointment with the lack of parking at the Bethesda post office.

The postal service is seeking a second post office location in Bethesda, with a goal of including 27 spaces and one handicap space.

“In Bethesda, parking is difficult but it is our hope that we can find something suitable that has adequate parking,” Dvorak wrote in a previous email. “Site planning typically involves making sure that there is adequate parking for the needs of our facilities, so the situation we experienced recently rarely occurs. In the future we will work to fully vet proposed parking allowances with all parties prior to taking possession of a property.”

USPS also is spending $23,299 per month to rent an empty building it previously owned at 7400 Wisconsin Ave. in Bethesda. USPS sold the historic post office to Donohoe Companies for about $4 million last year, and is renting it back from the company.

The lease requires nine-month termination, but USPS staff thought it required just a 90-day notice, Dvorak wrote in a previous email.

“I want to thank our Bethesda customers for their patience while we worked to address their parking concerns,” USPS Capital District Manager Kelvin Williams said in the press release. “This solution allows customers ample time to park and complete their postal transactions at no additional cost.”