Public Hearing re: Post Office
My name is Linda Schwab and I live at 318 Main St. in the village of Aurora.
On several previous occasions, at meetings and by letter, I have expressed concern about handicapped access issues regarding the proposed move of the Post Office into the Old Schoolhouse. Let me begin by saying what I am not concerned about. I am not concerned that the developer would fail to fit out the Schoolhouse building with a ramp and other accommodations needed to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
What I am concerned about is that the overall plan has such a negative impact on access. As I wrote to the Community Preservation Panel and the Planning Board in March, The present facility is conveniently accessible by persons with a broad range of mobility problems. Someone parking in any one of the four closest parking spaces needs to walk less than fifty feet, on level ground, to get mail. What is proposed as a replacement, the Old Schoolhouse or Heary Building, will require some three hundred feet uphill from the two assigned spaces. Even if a space is designated in front for handicapped parking , it will still require, by the architects own estimate, traversing not less than two hundred feet.
Let me reiterate. The basic problem is a combination of two factors: a building that requires a long ramp for access, and a lowered parking lot design that requires a long uphill walk. A designated handicapped parking space in front of the Schoolhouse will not fix the basic problem, because it doesnt fix the first part of the problem; it still increases the distance fourfold. Nor does the Village have any way to enforce handicapped parking restrictions.
It will, I am sure, be proposed tonight that persons with any level of mobility difficulty can simply apply for hardship delivery, and have home mail delivery. I have looked into this. Like many people in the village, I have a steep driveway. A box at the foot the most likely placement because of the driveway issue -- would not make getting mail easier. And I doubt that this solution is available to a young mother with a stroller and one or two toddlers. Nor does it fully replace what I have a post office box for: a secure, dry place to get mail, where I dont have to make special arrangements to stop mail if I am out of town. These assets are important to most Post Office users.
Unfortunately, the proposed replacement facility is part of a larger deal, and the developer has made the deal contingent on the Post Office move. It is a take-it-or-leave-it package, and many residents are willing to take it despite negative impacts. Because I would like to see a careful study of the issues involved, I contacted the Public Interest Law Firm of Syracuse University. This was an effort begun by Shelby Harris before his death, a person everyone who lives here remembers as a notably fair-minded man. The Public Interest Law Firm has written to Mr. Senk on my behalf, We urge you to recognize that there are serious problems with choosing the Heary Building as the new location for the post office. I ask you to show all due diligence in considering these serious problems. Thank you.