Saturday, March 26, 2005

Column 22 - US Postal Service

The US Postal Service seems prepared to decide what is best for Incline, despite some very cogent concerns that have been expressed over the past several years by Incline residents, elected officials, and business owners.

Apparently in 1999 the USPS decided that the current Post Office “had become too small to serve the community adequately.” If memory serves, this was just before they decided to eliminate Saturday window service completely, so that now the only way you can mail anything that is not ready (and the right size) to drop in the slot on Saturday is to go to Truckee, Reno, or Carson City.

Let’s see if we have this straight: The current PO is too small to serve the community adequately, so we’ll eliminate service to the community on the one day a week that working people can comfortably get there, given that the during the week hours coincide with most people’s working hours, and at lunch hour the lines are often out the door. I guess if you’re a USPS bureaucrat, that makes sense.

Also, let’s move the PO out of Village Center, where there is almost unlimited parking, and put it on the corner of Tanager and Village, where traffic is heavy and often backs up on Tanager trying to turn left onto Village now. And let’s take it out of Village Center, where it actually supports the businesses there, and where a trip to get the mail can be combined with a stop at Village Market, picking up the dry cleaning, having a coffee and a chat at Sweet Decadence (a locally owned, non-chain coffee shop), etc., and put it on a corner where the only business in close proximity is Village Pharmacy. That way, Incline residents can make several trips in their cars where one might have done, thereby increasing fuel consumption, air pollution, lake pollution, you name it.

Oh, and let’s create heavy traffic on Tanager and Village, right by the main Fire Station, so that if fire trucks or ambulances need to get out, it can create a real mess and maybe endanger some lives and property.

When he was Chair of the IVGID Board of Trustees, Syd Brosten wrote to the USPS, TRPA, and the County on behalf of the Board and the residents of Incline asking that another site be found. The USPS did not deign to answer – that should let us know in what regard they hold the village that they propose to build in – and neither did the other two agencies, though in a recent Bonanza article, it was indicated that TRPA has received a permit application from the USPS.

Here is an opportunity for TRPA and the County to mend some fences with Incline Village by doing the right thing. TRPA should deny the permit on environmental grounds – the added traffic will have a direct impact on the clarity of the lake, given that runoff of road dirt is one of the biggest danger to that clarity. Washoe County can and should block the proposal on any number of grounds, not the least of which are safety and traffic. Has an environmental impact study been done? If so, it should be made public.

This is an issue that does not divide along political or philosophical lines – this is a quality of life issue for all of us who live in the village and for businesses that are locally owned and contributing to our lives here – imagine if we lose Village Market and are stuck with only Raley’s on those holiday weekends in the winter and all summer when it is jammed with bewildered flatlanders – and we should all get behind blocking this ill-advised move. Contact TRPA, Jim Galloway, the Postal Service, and the IVGID Board to let them know how you feel.

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