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Jul 15, 2009 11:25 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

New post office opens in Southampton Village

Jul 15, 2009 11:25 AM

The new Southampton Village Post Office opened its doors for the first time on Monday after more than a decade of planning, and many of its first customers complained about long waits, scarce parking spaces and snarled traffic.

The line at the counter was long Monday afternoon as customers waited to receive new keys to their post office boxes, and the opening of the post office affected traffic on North Sea Road as motorists accustomed to cruising by now faced a new intersection created by the busy post office parking lot entrance/exit.

Postmaster Walter Marsicovetere said the first day went as expected, though busier than he anticipates a normal Monday will be. The employees had to get used to the new facility and new procedures, and, “of course, it was new and different for the customers also,” he added.

Mr. Marsicovetere said the parking lot was congested and the entrance to the lot was a concern, but safety officers are evaluating the situation and offering recommendations. There is no turning lane or traffic light outside the post office. Mr. Marsicovetere said traffic studies were done prior to building the post office and none called for a light or road markings there.

“As they become used to it,” he said of the postal customers, “things will flow more freely.”

David Gillespie of Shinnecock Hills did not share Mr. Marsicovetere’s confidence that traffic issues would work themselves out. “It’s not gonna work,” he said on Monday. “It’s a disaster, an absolute disaster.”

Mr. Gillespie also said he was upset that no one who had a P.O. box with a combination lock knew they would have to go to the post office for a key to access their new boxes.

He wasn’t alone.

“It seems to be not too organized,” said Susan Steinke of Water Mill, on Tuesday, “and the parking situation is horrendous.”

The new post office offers 28 parking spaces for customers. A couple are reserved for fuel-efficient, low-emission vehicles.

Jim Anderson of Hampton Bays, who was checking his P.O. box on Tuesday, said he parked on Bowden Square, a short distance from the post office, to avoid trying to find a spot in the new post office parking lot.

Mr. Anderson said he was also at the post office on Monday, at noon, and traffic was backed up on North Sea Road. He advised visiting the post office after 1 p.m., when the volume of cars has waned.

The aesthetic of the post office has been met with mixed reviews.

Sally Spanburgh, a Southampton Village resident and blogger who writes about architecture in the village, said she has given the new post office a lot of thought.

“I think it’s OK,” she wrote in an e-mail Monday. “It’s not great, don’t love the combination of materials, but think it’s a lot better than the CVS store, and appreciate the designer’s sensitivity to the local aesthetic.”

The new post office is a one-story, shingled building designed to mimic the look of many shingle-style East End houses.

The U.S. Postal Service broke ground on the new building more than a year ago and has owned the property it sits on since 1998.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony is planned for sometime in August.

The new facility replaces the post office on Nugent Street, which had been the home of the 11968 zip code since 1964, and the Jagger Lane post office annex, which housed additional P.O. boxes.

Now, all of the P.O. boxes are in one place, in the new North Sea Road facility.

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Unfortunately the planners/achitects came up short on the parking lot... it is horrendous. only a matter of time before the backing up accidents occur.
By hbaysboomer (15), Hampton Bays on Jul 14, 09 11:46 AM
What half-dipped, over educated IDIOT came up with the site plan for this project? I can't believe how simply stupid this Post Office parking lot is not only layed out, but how limited the parking is. It me or does anyone else wonder why in a town without delivery in some areas, there is such limited access to parking. It was bad enough at the old building, but one would assume that this issue would have been addressed when planning a completely NEW building.

This is your Government ...more
By JackC574 (21), Southampton on Jul 15, 09 11:57 AM
1 member liked this comment
WOW.... You People REALLY need to calm DOWN. As with ANY new Business here in the Hamptons, or Elsewhere. The first few days/weeks will be hard. Give it some time, it will all workout
By KAZ (26), HAMPTON BAYS on Jul 15, 09 12:26 PM
1 member liked this comment
By fdny7318 (60), Water Mill on Jul 15, 09 6:01 PM
The parking lot is tragic. expect fender bender after fender bender in there. Don't know why they couldn't have put a driveway in front of the post office for mail drop off and reconfigured the main parking lot without an island.

By C Law (350), Water Mill on Jul 17, 09 5:32 AM
1 member liked this comment
I've noticed many new and good things about the new Post Office. I particulary like the dedicted bulk mail area. Although, perhaps the Post Office should have more tellers at the main counter which would aleviate the majority of the congestion in the parking lot and in the lobby. I dont think the conern is the parking design, instead its more about the rush of people at different hours of the day. More tellers would be a great help.
By CDtilM (1), Southampton on Sep 30, 09 12:17 AM
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