Thursday, March 6, 2008

Farley Post Office: Thinking long-term

I've previously mentioned the plans to convert the Farley Post Office to a new Penn Station with offices, a shopping mall and a new Madison Square Garden. They're redeveloping similar stations in Philadelphia and Boston.

Ever wonder why someone would build a huge post office - covering two entire city blocks - over an active rail line in the middle of a city? There aren't that many people who need to mail packages, are they? They used to sort mail there? Why not stick the sorting facility somewhere out by the highway, where people can get to it easily?

Of course the answer is that mail didn't use to come into the city by highway, it came by train. Most of the businesses were a short distance from the post office, and many got their mail by handcart. But that's long ago, and trucks and airplanes are the answer to everything!

Are they? With the price of gas continuing to go up, shouldn't we be trying to find a more efficient way to distribute the mail? Shouldn't we think about "railbanking" our post offices, so that if there comes a time when we need a distribution center on top of a train line, we can reactivate them?

1 comment:

Cap'n Transit said...

Scully might have said, "One sorted mail in the city like a god; one scuttles now like a rat out to the suburban trash heap.