The Pikesville post office, long reviled by customers because of its tight parking and traffic jams, will move to less crowded quarters in the Pikesville Shopping Center in a few months.
The new facility, on the Bedford Avenue side of the shopping center, which faces Reisterstown Road, will provide all retail services, including post office boxes, stamps, and package pickup. The old facility, at 3703 Old Court Road, will remain a delivery center for carriers.
Gary Doyle, manager of customer service operations for the U.S. Postal Service in Baltimore, said the new facility will accommodate nearly 100 cars, compared with a dozen at the Old Court Road facility.
Postal officials have been looking for a new home in Pikesville for almost 10 years, Mr. Doyle said. But a variety of potential sites -- including the old Pikes Theater -- were discarded because they didn't meet the needs of the Postal Service or the customers. He said he hopes the new retail center will open by the end of May.
It won't be soon enough for post office customers.
"I did my mother a favor and brought her up here so she wouldn't have to deal with parking," said Suzanne Kaye, who ventures to the Pikesville post office daily to pick up her mail. "You have to take your life in your hands."
A recent lunchtime rush at the current facility saw motorists lined up four cars deep along Old Court Road, waiting to turn into the narrow parking lot. Those who had the patience to get in took whatever spots they could find -- legal or illegal. Some even blocked the alley that postal trucks use to get to the back of the building. Others gave up, parked at the strip shopping center next door and negotiated their way through the busy lunchtime traffic and mounds of snow remaining from last week's storm.
"I was shocked I actually got a parking spot," said Carol Flannery, a secretary who pulled up on office business. "It's a real aggravation when I need to come here. I really dread it."
Several customers at the Old Court Road building said they were happy to hear that the customer windows would be moving soon -- provided there was more parking.
In addition to the more space for cars, the new facility will have an additional service window and expanded staff, Mr. Doyle said.
"It's certainly going to alleviate a lot of the tie-up. This is long overdue," said Nancy Garfinkel, executive director of the Pikesville Chamber of Commerce.