Plans are under way to create more parking at the Brainerd Post Office.
The Brainerd City Council Monday approved having staffers work with post office officials to come up with a plan and determine costs of creating diagonal parking along the east side of the post office at 422 Laurel St. and moving the current drop mail boxes farther south along South Fifth Street.
"This is a very vital part of our business downtown. They employ over 100 people," said council member Bob Olson in making the motion. Olson's motion also included identifying the parking problem as a city priority that would be resolved as soon as possible.
Postmaster Warren McQuay said, along with already high volumes of traffic at the post office, the Laurel Street reconstruction project will result in fewer parking spaces along that street as turning lanes at the South Fifth Street intersection in front of the post office are widened.
"It's been really difficult to get people in ... and when the Laurel Street construction starts up all we're going to have is parking on the opposite (north) side of Fifth Street," McQuay said. "It's going to get pretty ugly for us."
City Engineer Jeff Hulsether said a preliminary layout has been completed and the Minnesota Department of Transportation has given its approval. He told the council he could have a feasibility report to address costs by the city council's first April meeting and a final plan which will address construction phasing by the city council's second April meeting.
Hulsether noted that the city and MnDOT are in agreement that creating diagonal parking on the east side of the Brainerd Post Office would create a slight increase in crash rates because of the additional movement by vehicles.
Olson inquired if the Brainerd Post Office could share in the cost of constructing the new parking spaces and McQuay said he would speak to his superiors about post office participation.
MATT ERICKSON can be reached at email@example.com or 855-5857.
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