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Belmont Cragin Neighbors Complain That U.S. Postal Trucks Are Taking Up Parking Spots

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Missing mail and late packages – the headlines haven't been friendly to the U.S. Post Office lately.

Now comes another complaint – mail trucks are plugging up parking spots on the Northwest Side.

As CBS 2's Lauren Victory reported, many of us have experienced it – the ear-splitting sounds of construction coupled with the headache of temporarily prohibited parking.

But in a certain section of Belmont Cragin, residents are complaining of a third thorn in their sides – United States Post Office trucks.

Our cameras spotted them parked in the middle of the construction zone – in metered spots, despite cones and no-parking signs.

"They're public employees," said frustrated Belmont Cragin resident Eduardo Casarez. "They're supposed to be held at a higher standard."

Casarez took a video of USPS vehicles plugging up parking before construction began. He said it has actually been a problem on Armitage and LeClaire avenues for years.

That checks out – Google Maps shows an image from 2019 with mail trucks blocking spots in the same area.

"It's just unbearable, and they have no respect for where they park, and they get into arguments with other people - almost to the point where there's going to be a fistfight," Casarez said.

He said they hog spots – day or night, and even on Sundays when the Post Office is closed.

"It's every day – even my wife, when she comes from running errands, she can't find parking – or anyone who visits us," Casarez said.

Adding fuel to this frustration – it's possible the Post Office isn't even paying for the spots like the rest of us.

Victory asked Ald. Gilbert Villegas (36th) why police can't start ticketing the postal trucks and maybe deter them from parking there. Villegas said he has asked the Department of Finance to step in because he'd rather keep police focused on crime.

"We've met with the manager," Villegas said. "We've met with the regional manager."

His office's conversations with USPS clearly haven't inspired change.

"Because they're loading up their vehicles, I guess they feel they're exempt from paying the meters," he said.

Or maybe it's because the trucks are stuck? A tow truck driver we spotted told CBS 2 that USPS called him because these vehicles are broken.

A spokesperson for the Post Office promised the mail trucks will stop parking in the public spots once construction in the area is done:

"USPS strives to be good citizens in the communities we serve. We remind drivers to be safe and respectful with our vehicles as we work to minimize parking concerns. The goal of USPS is to provide efficient service of our customers and to do so as good neighbors. We make every effort to abide by laws and are not exempt from parking rules.

"In this case at the Cragin Station, repairs are currently being made in the alley and parking lot of the station. USPS parks on the side of the building after hours but not during the day so USPS customers can park there. After hours where USPS is parking vehicles, it reverts to street parking for anyone. nce the repairs have been completed, USPS vehicles will no longer park at this location after business hours."

No one from the parking meter company, the Mayor's Office, or the Police Department was able to tell us if the Post Office is actually paying for parking.

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