The City of Emeryville’s experimental protected bike lanes on Horton street caused a stir recently when the post office ceased delivery to the Terraces housing complex. The mail carrier had apparently been in the practice of parking on the red curb obstructing part of the lane and was confronted by a member of the public and felt “threatened.”
The white flexible posts, or “bollards,” have been effective in providing a buffer for cyclists and preventing delivery and rideshare drivers from the common practice of illegally parking on the red curb and obstructing the bike lanes. Unfortunately, this has these left delivery drivers with fewer options for temporary parking and many resorted to double-parking or obstructing the lanes in other areas.
Initial reports noted the Post Office ceased delivery because of the inability or inconvenience of parking caused by the bollards but apparently the carrier was also involved in a confrontation. “What caused the denial of service was apparently a confrontation by the member of the public that made the carrier feel threatened,” noted 2019 Emeryville Mayor Ally Medina in am email communication. “The postmaster prioritized safety and ceased service.”
Emeryville Police Captain Oliver Collins acknowledged that there were two calls made to his department on May 29th regarding a dispute, but no verbal threats were made and no police report was filed. “The postal carrier was talked to and made no such claim there was a threat.”
After receiving complaints from residents of The Terraces, Emeryville city staff and council arranged a meeting with the stakeholders that included the postmaster, property owner, Amtrak and Terraces HOA Board. They helped mediate a solution that involves the creation of a nearby loading area for postal workers.
“The City is designating a section of the outermost curb in the Amtrak taxi lane for the carrier to park to deliver to those buildings,” according to City of Emeryville Environmental Programs Supervisor Nancy Humphrey. “That easternmost curb is City right-of-way. The staff at Amtrak were helpful and accommodating.”
Medina noted that building management and the postal carrier were pleased with the solution and have established a better line of communication to avoid any future service issues. Mail service is expected to resume immediately and all backlogged mail will be delivered within the next two days.
Not all cyclists are thrilled with the bollards that were installed last October saying that is makes the lane is too narrow and that frustrated drivers end up parking in any available gaps. “This forces me out of my lane and onto the street” noted a community member who identified himself as a frequent cyclist.
— The E’ville Eye News (@TheEvilleEye) October 26, 2018
Some seemed to resent the prioritization that cyclists seem to be given in the city at the expense of parking. “The more you eliminate parking, the more you limit the handicapped people who can’t walk, can’t ride bicycles,” noted another community member in a Facebook thread that seemed to reflect others’ sentiments.
Others pointed out the walking distance proximity from the Emeryville post office and how easily the carrier gave up on finding a solution despite their motto. “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers,” chimed in Bike East Bay Education Director Robert Prinz “But no parking and a 5 minute walk will do it, apparently.”
Emeryville’s Public Works Department is expected to paint the curb and install new signage this week.
Feature Image: @Jtramme11 via Twitter. NBC Bay Area produced a video segment on this story: