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Residents Protest Postal Service in Eagle Rock

November 16, 1989|By LORI GRANGE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A small group of protesters, disgruntled by mail delivery problems and potential safety hazards at the Eagle Rock Post Office, on Tuesday picketed the new facility.

About 14 demonstrators converged for about half an hour at the $7.9-million station on the corner of Colorado Boulevard and Figueroa Street.

"We know we have the best postal system in the world, but the people of Eagle Rock and Highland Park perceive there is a problem," said Bob Russell, who operates a small medical supply company in Eagle Rock. "Attitudes have got to change."

Protesters said the demonstration was prompted by the failure of Postal Service administrators to appear at a Nov. 8 meeting with dissatisfied Eagle Rock and Highland Park residents, whom the facility would serve.

The protest was the latest in a series of problems surrounding the post office, which opened 10 months late on Sept. 5. Work on the facility was stalled several times by construction problems, including steep parking lots that had to be regraded and by a mid-project shake-up that resulted in the firing of the original architect and contractor.

Critics say their mail is delivered late or not at all, window service usually is slow, mail carriers change regularly and access to the station's parking lot is hazardous.

The narrow entrance opens to fast-moving traffic on Colorado Boulevard, a design that could lead to auto collisions, protesters said.

"People invited to the grand opening received their invitations two days after the grand opening," Russell said. "And the driveway is a deathtrap. Everybody here will tell you it's an accident waiting to happen."

Postal authorities appeared minutes after the protest began, offering explanations for their absence from the meeting and promises to consider the complaints.

"We do make mistakes. That goes without saying. But we're people; we're not supermen," manager Howard Arian said. "I don't believe we have a window problem. And I don't see a big problem with the driveway. We haven't had any accidents.

"My problem is getting new carriers acclimated," he told the residents.

Arian and other officials agreed to schedule a meeting with residents and said they would examine carrier assignments and routes. All station operations, in fact, will be reviewed in January, said Art Cardenas, area manager for the postal service.

Shirley Minser, an aide to City Councilman Richard Alatorre, who represents the area, said she would meet soon with Los Angeles city transportation officials to discuss potential solutions to the parking lot problem, such as installing yield and warning signs near the driveway. Postal officials indicated there was little chance of altering the lot's design, which they say now meets both federal and local standards.

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