Thursday, January 19, 2017

New Canaan, Meet New Post Office

In our last story I noted the festivities surrounding the opening of the then-new grand downtown post office in Orlando, Florida. That brought me to thinking: could you imagine such a celebration for a new post office opening today?

In New Canaan, Connecticut, where the post office had not been located at a permanent facility for three years, the District Manager had to respond to claims that USPS had really desired to close its facility: "This goes on all over the place, not just in New Canaan ... We've been very successful in finding new Post Office residences in towns where, in some cases, it was very, very difficult to find the real estate, whether it's a lease, rental or actually built." Says the manager of the District that effectively closed the Tariffville and Yantic, CT post offices with no intention of replacement. In recent years the Connecticut Valley District has also purged historic postal facilities as if on ipecac, and took three years to re-open a post office in downtown population-120,000 Stamford. Can you really blame New Canaan for being a bit concerned?

The new permanent post office finally opened in New Canaan, and customers are thrilled with the amenities, notably the fact that parking isn't terrible anymore. (I can attest to the awfulness at the temporary site. I pretty much had to park by... the new post office. I wish I were making that up.) Perks for local customers now include 24-hour lobby access for P.O. Box access and a self-service kiosk.

(The loss of USPS's lease at its non-permanent facility could not have been such a surprise internally. Just look at its listing in USPS's Leased Facilities Report.)

Fun fact 1: A former Postmaster discussed the issue of post office relocation from a perspective you won't usually hear. I found this essay enlightening and I think it's worth a read. Here is an excerpt:
Most post offices are downsized to a smaller operation than truly needed ... resulting in longer wait times. New Canaan currently has four retail transaction windows. The flawed data may result in the new office having as few as two transaction windows. Once those retail counters are gone, they are never coming back.
Fun fact 2: There was even a mobile postal van unit providing retail services across from the old post office during the transition period!

Without further ado, let's look at the three recent actual-building sites for the New Canaan post office.

1. 'Old' Post Office, 2 Pine St., open for 55 years, closed Jan. 18, 2014
Old New Canaan post office
(See the health food store now at the site of the old post office here.)

2. Temporary Post Office, 90 Main St., Jan. 21, 2014 to Dec. 2016
Temporary New Canaan post office
(Note the banner in lieu of a sign above the door!)

3. New post office: 18 Locust St., opened Dec. 30, 2016.
New New Canaan post office
(Courtesy a Google Street View image, Oct. 2016. Hope to drop by and snag my own photo for here soon! Update: Done!)

I've gotta say I like the building housing the new facility. Bringing back that federal style! You can see more post offices of the interior here. 'Til next time.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, the new building is nice. What's not clear from the Google Street View image is how much of it the post office occupies.