Going postal: USPS depot on residential block drives neighbors crazy

Brooklyn Paper
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And you thought your post office was bad!

A United States Postal Service shipping depot that opened earlier this year on Dean Street in Prospect Heights is driving neighbors crazy with all-night deliveries and employees who illegally use parking placards to turn the residential block into their own personal lot, according to the head of a neighborhood group.

“They don’t want to take mass transit so they park out front illegally. It’s dangerous,” said Anu Heda, president of the Dean Street Block Association. “I call it renegade employee parking.”

The carrier annex, formerly a part of the Trinity Place Post Office on Atlantic Avenue, opened between Carlton and Vanderbilt avenues in January after the landlord refused to renew the facility’s lease, forcing the post office and shipping depot to occupy separate spaces, said postal service spokeswoman Maureen Marion.

And while the former location — which was in a commercial area and had a parking lot for workers — was perfect for the depot, the site on Dean Street could not be worse, according to its next-door neighbor.

“It’s not an ideal place for what they’re doing,” said David Richman. “I don’t know why they moved in there.”

To navigate the narrow street — which is even more clogged now thanks to temporary fencing for the Pacific Park project — the postal service traded 18-wheeler shipping trucks for smaller vehicles that still barely fit and require more trips to deliver the same amount of freight, Heda said.

The result is trucks driving onto the sidewalk, destroying property, and, worst of all, arriving at all hours of the night — forcing neighbors to plug their ears just to catch a wink, according to Richman.

“I’ve started wearing ear plugs to bed,” the Dean Street resident said. “I can be awakened by a truck coming in at one, two, three, four in the morning — it’s literally around the clock.”

The new annex doesn’t have space for all its vehicles, Heda said, so employees often park them sticking halfway onto the street’s only usable sidewalk, forcing pedestrians into traffic.

“You have no choice but to walk in the street,” he said.

And postal workers who grew accustomed to parking their personal cars in the former location’s parking lot are now improperly using postal-service-issued parking placards to park them in illegal spots on Dean Street — a big no-no according to the city’s Department of Transportation.

“The placard… is not an officially issued placard, and is not valid for use on city streets,” said spokeswoman Alana Morales.

Marion said the placards are only for use on official business, such as visiting customers, and that the postal service would crack down on its employees’ nasty habit.

“Be assured the Brooklyn Post Office will redouble its efforts to monitor the distribution and use of these placards,” she said.

Heda filed complaints with local and federal officials, the city’s Department of Consumer Affairs, and, of course, the postal service, but has yet to receive any good news.

“No promising results yet,” he said.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Updated 5:57 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

inTheSlope from Park slope says:
especially when it was moved to wrong zip code this was to be in 11217 & build put in 11238
June 28, 2017, 10:19 am
Gib from Prospect Heights says:
Abuse of parking placards should not be tolerated. However, it should be noted that while there are several residential buildings on the block in question, it is zoned by the City as M1-1, which is a manufacturing district. The USPS depot is an as-of right use in such a zone.
July 3, 2017, 10:57 am
Peter from Prospect Heights says:
The previous post is correct in saying this part of the block is zoned M-1, but if the inference is that the residential neighbor should learn to accept the conditions his new post office neighbor creates, it is not. Most of the unacceptable conditions being created -- blocked sidewalks, damaged private property, illegal parking, unloading in non-designated areas-- are not acceptable in either a residential or manufacturing zone. And this block probably has more residential units on it than the typical block in lower density parts of Prospect Heights. As the reporter writes, it is also particularly challenged due to construction fencing across the street.

Actually, in this specific case the immediate neighbor's building is among a number of brownstones that have always been residential and the residential use is grandfathered in. Unfortunately the line between the nearby residential zone and the manufacturing zone was poorly drawn years ago. Based on a presentation several months ago, City Planning is aware of, and wants to correct this problem as part of a ULUURP proposal currently moving through the system. If that proposal gains approval, the post office will be on the line with the adjacent residential district.

Finally, the previous owner of the building that contains the post office used the lot behind the building with an entrance on Bergen Street for much of its storage, loading and unloading. The current owner removed this possibility in order to create a residential development site out of the Bergen Street side of the M-1 zone. That is the proposal moving through the ULUURP process.
July 5, 2017, 7:22 pm
Ms. Me from Bay Ridge says:
"And you thought your post office was bad!" No I don't -- zip 11220 is a great post office.
July 5, 2017, 11 pm
Gib from Prospect Heights says:
My comment was simply to provide a piece of information not present in the article, whose title is technically not accurate.

The ULURP application Peter mentions is filed by a private developer to make a single lot it owns on Bergen Street part of a neighboring residential zone. The application is not an attempt by the Department of City Planning to change the manufacturing zoning for a larger area.
July 6, 2017, 8:43 am

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