Post office seeks public views for master plan |

Post office seeks public views for master plan

Do you have something to say about the U.S. Postal Service’s efforts in the Lake Tahoe Basin?

If so, hopefully you’ll be one of the 16,000 randomly selected Tahoe residents to receive a survey soon. And if you don’t get a survey, there will be other opportunities to comment.

The Postal Service intends to develop a master plan to examine what services and facilities will be needed over the next 15 years.

“The master plan is a broader document than just the home delivery issue, but that is certainly one of the issues most people will care about,” said Sue Rae Irelan, a consultant and manager of the project. “There’s never been a region-wide, comprehensive look at how the Postal Service’s actions interact with environmental goals. The Postal Service up until now has not understood how important that relationship really is.”

The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, Lake Tahoe’s bistate regulatory board, has long been trying to reduce the basin’s VMTs – Vehicle Miles Traveled. There has been concern about whether driving on a regular basis to the post office causes more VMTs and, therefore, more air pollution.

Only South Lake Tahoe and Incline Village offer home delivery now, Irelan said. The rest of the communities in the basin must go to their nearest post offices to get their mail from boxes.

Irelan said providing home delivery won’t be simply a matter of giving it to the areas that want it. The Postal Service’s facilities in those areas may not be able to accommodate home delivery. Additionally, the areas that want home delivery won’t necessarily correspond to the areas where it is most needed. However, the survey will help the agency plan for those services if they are needed.

“The (home delivery) issue gets the most public attention – whether, when and where the service can be expanded to the other areas,” she said. “There are a lot of differing opinions. There are people who like to go to the post office every day. Then there are others who would love to get mail at home. Everyone in Tahoe falls somewhere in between those.”

Surveys were to start going out Monday. Approximately one-third of the basin’s residents will receive a survey.

Another opportunity for input will happen through public workshops, the first of which is tentatively scheduled for October.

“The survey will not directly dictate a result,” she said. “It is a piece of information to help in planning decisions.”

The planning team considering the information consists of Tahoe postmasters, the manager of post office operations from the Reno office, a Tahoe Regional Planning Agency staff person and three community representatives with transportation expertise.

The master plan is expected to be completed in 2000 and will be considered for approval by the Postal Service and TRPA.

For more information about the master plan process, call Sue Rae Irelan at (530) 525-1646. To speak to the Lake Tahoe branch of the U.S. Postal Service, call (800) ASK-USPS and ask for Alice Ynchausti at ZIP code 96150.

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