Postmaster moves on parking scofflaws
Finding a parking space at the Vineyard Haven post office can be a frustrating experience. It is made more difficult by drivers who abuse the posted 15-minute parking limit.
Tisbury postmaster Joe Massua understands the problem, and he is taking action.
Mr. Massua said that the parking issue is no small problem, and it's not just a summer problem. "Every summer I tow, and sometimes I tow in the winter, too," he said this week.
The post office, a daily stop for many year-round and summer residents, offers a full service counter, and the lobby provides 3,500 post office boxes. The post office shares the parking lot and a building with the Cumberland Farms convenience store.
Despite time limit signs and towing warnings, not everyone takes the warning seriously.
Last Thursday, Mr. Massua walked out to the parking lot to place typewritten messages under the windshields of several vehicles. The notice repeated the standard warnings.
"It's a huge problem," Mr. Massua said of the scofflaws. Pointing to the lobby, he asked, "Did you see anyone in there?" Although the parking lot was nearly full, there were fewer then 10 people waiting for service at the counter or in the post office box lobby.
Despite the inconvenience and cost of more than $100 of towing and storage charges, Mr. Massua said that many drivers ignore these consequences of neglecting the parking lot's time limit. He also said it is difficult for post office staff to monitor all the vehicles in the lot, which is why many are able to get away with parking for hours at a time.
"I don't have time to hang out in the parking lot all day," Mr. Massua said. "I tow as often as I can. I towed three cars on Friday, and those were the first tows of the summer."
Mr. Massua said some year-round Islanders think they deserve preferential treatment. "The first thing I get is 'I live here'," he said.
Two spots adjacent to the post office side entrance are reserved for handicapped persons. Despite clearly visible signs, drivers without handicap placards regularly park in the reserved spots.
Mr. Massua said he has had new signs made to designate the spaces as handicap only.