CHICAGO (CBS) — Think of something annoying. Here’s one: driving up and down the block to find parking. Residents in the Belmont Cragin neighborhood say they’ve felt that frustration for years, because mail trucks take up spots that should be theirs.
The U.S. Postal Service promised to do better when CBS 2 first told you about this problem last month, but Morning Insider Lauren Victory found that commitment didn’t stick.READ MORE: IDES Kept Offices Closed While Many Struggled To Get Their Unemployment Benefits: What Really Happened Inside And Outside Those Walls
It’s past closing time at the U.S. Post Office in Belmont Cragin. Gates are up. Mail carriers are calling it a night.
Not much to write home about at the intersection of Grand, Armitagen and LeClaire avenues; except neighborhood frustrations that postal trucks have been hogging up parking spots meant for the public. It’s especially bothersome to residents who should be able to park for free after 6 p.m.
“So, there’s a problem,” said Nicholas Casarez, who is 10 years old. “I think my dad had made a story about this already.”
Yes, dad Eduardo Casarez brought an eyebrow-raising allegation to CBS2’s attention last month: are the mail trucks that are clogging up metered spots during the day parking for free?
“It’s never-ending,” said the older Casarez. “I don’t want to sound like a crybaby, but shouldn’t everybody be paying?”
“We’ve met with the manager. We’ve met with the regional manager,” Ald. Gilbert Villegas (36th) said last month.
Villegas said conversations with USPS to park somewhere else go in circles, so he’d been pressing Chicago’s Department of Finance to step in. But the City recently told CBS 2 it doesn’t have the power to ticket postal trucks, because they don’t have license plates.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Lakeshore Flood Threat Continues
“That’s kind of crazy,” Nicholas said.
Construction in early April complicated the situation.
A postal service spokesperson pledged then: “Once the repairs have been completed USPS vehicles will no longer park at this location after business hours.”
But a check at 9 p.m. nearly three weeks later on April 26 showed that promise broken, with no construction in sight and trucks everywhere.
Casarez snapped a picture of noticeably fewer vehicles in the public spots after hours after CBS2 reported the problem to USPS again.
The postal service spokesperson told us the department is working on a parking solution, but didn’t elaborate. He also didn’t answer our direct question: are those parking spots paid for?
Here is the full statement from USPS for this report:
“The Postal Service is continuing to work on a solution to parking at and around this Postal station.MORE NEWS: Climate Change And Chicago's Lake Michigan Shoreline: What The Future May Hold And The Action Being Taken
USPS is required to deliver to every single address in every American community – a unique statutory obligation. This requires a fleet of vehicles to provide service in every community. We will continue to remind employees to be respectful as we work to minimize parking concerns.”