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Postal Service: 162 sites may still close

By Ed O'Keefe

Will Postal facilities like this one soon close?

The Postal Service continued to whittle away at the list of possible site closures, announcing Friday that 162 sites remain under consideration for possible closure and consolidation, a decrease of six from the last update in December.

About a dozen sites once considered in the District and suburban Maryland have been spared.

In a formal notice to the Postal Regulatory Commission, officials said that no final decision has been made regarding the fate of the 162 sites. Postmaster General John Potter said last year that facilities would start closing in January.

The potential loss of 162 sites amounts to a drop in the bucket -- if that -- since the Postal Service operates more than 36,000 post offices, stations, branches and smaller community facilities nationwide. The initial list of sites under consideration for closure or consolidation issued last year included 3,300 postal stations and branches in urban and suburban areas, and has declined considerably since.

Federal law requires a post office in each of the nation's Zip codes. The consolidation plan is designed to find locations located just a few blocks or miles from each other and then merge them together. In some cases, officials may decide to merge just the backroom operations of nearby facilities and maintain separate retail locations.

By Ed O'Keefe  | January 29, 2010; 11:34 AM ET
Categories:  Agencies and Departments  
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If federal law requires a post office in every zip code, they didn't get the memo in Laurel, MD. There are no post offices in Laurel zip codes 20723 or 20724.

Posted by: ricktd | January 29, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

The Postal Commission needs something like BRAC, to propose a list of closures that Congress can take or leave. Otherwise any list is going to get picked apart.

Why does each ZIP code need a post office? I could understand the converse better.

Posted by: ah___ | January 29, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Here in Fremont, California the postal service is trying to close the post office in Niles (a historic district of our city.) It's the only post office for the 94536 zip code. Additionally, the postal officials keep distributing a mileage report claiming other post offices are within three miles, a claim that keeps being proven wrong - which they admitted at a local meeting.

Posted by: amacrae | January 29, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

I had to send thousands to my congressman to have our post office removed from the closure list.

Posted by: blasmaic | January 29, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

I'm outraged! The Post Office is a sacred institution entrusted with our most valued correspondence.

I shall type a letter to the Editor expressing my sincere displeasure and be sure it is stamped and ready for tomorrow's pickup.

Then, perhaps, my fellow citizens shall read of my great displeasure ... sometime in the next week or so.

God Bless America.

Posted by: Ralphinjersey | January 29, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

good. stop subsidizing the junk mail industry and the feudal system along with it.

Posted by: pofinpa | January 29, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Federal Law... to have a Post Office in every single Zipcode designation?? Who's bright idea was that?? Geeez... yet another govermnet idea that just doesnt make sense. It just doesnt seem right to me that it should be the governments job to make sure people are employed... which is what it sounds like to me. The consolidation of main postal offices makes sense to me... It seems pretty rediculous to have a one for one situation... a local post office for every zipcode... Iam almost positive that the US Postal Service could be run ten times better than is currently being run.

Posted by: BobbyYarush | January 29, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Maybe if they didn't advertise they'd save some money. and cut out Sat deliveries. Privatize it too, it's not rocket science but some or most get paid more then teachers, police, firemen and various other professional careers. Why does FedEX and UPS do so well? Doesn't make sense to have post office in every zip code.

Posted by: larry40 | January 29, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

We do not have a Post Office inside of the 20721 (Bowie) zip code. Unfortunately for me if I get a registered letter, I have to drive 12 miles to the post office assigned to me.

It would be a political game if the Postal Service was allowed to pick which zip codes would have post offices. Thats a game none of us would like.

With that said a better article would be "Why the Postal Service isn't following Federal law? Are you willing to do the research Ed?

Posted by: cbenjam11 | January 29, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Customers should rate Post Offices and then close the ones with the worst ratings.

Ever been to the Columbia MD post office on Oak Hall Lane? If so, you are probably still waiting in line...

Posted by: mm489942 | January 29, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

I agree with cbenjam11 1000%. I confirmed on the website that there are no post offices in the 20721, 20723 and the 20723 zip codes.

If it is in fact federal law that the USPS must operate a post office in every zip code in our nation, the USPS is violating federal law right here, right near our nation's capital.

Ed, we need you to fight for the Washington Post's readers and get us the service from the USPS to which we are legally entitled.

Posted by: Bronxnative | January 29, 2010 5:16 PM | Report abuse

I would recommend cutting back to 3-day delivery and perhaps Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Six-day delivery seems crazy given the drop in the volume of mail. I think half the mail delivered is "junk mail" so why do we need 6-day per week service? Of course, there would be job cuts but can be this done through early retirements and attrition. I started paying all my bills online about 6 months ago and it is much easier.

Posted by: SF271 | January 29, 2010 6:02 PM | Report abuse

Our Post Office branch is called "The Country Club" by the other nearby branches. It is, at times, a joke. Letters lost, packages smashed ("But it wasn't OUR fault!"), occasionally surly counter employees, inconsistent delivery/holding of insured items. I as an individual as well as the company I work for would gladly use a different branch, but our Pitney-Bowes machine is tied to this zip code, so we're stuck with it. They've already cut back hours and are now closed on Saturdays except for home delivery. I'm not sure we'd miss them, and I'm very sure we'd have fewer problems. Wish I were making their salary to NOT do my job.

Posted by: LBinVA | January 29, 2010 6:35 PM | Report abuse

We need our post office in each town large or small. If Wall Street and big banks are not interested in giving credit and do banking with small customers, why don't we use post offices around the country to serve people for saving and checking services? They can also sell US Savings Bonds.
There must be a way to save our Post Office.

Posted by: dummy4peace | January 29, 2010 7:05 PM | Report abuse

No, every zip code does not need a post office, and every town might not either -- just like every town doesn't necessarily have a bank, a school, or a supermarket.

The post office needs to do a better job rationalizing staffing at postal locations. My post office, a mere 10 blocks from my house, is incredibly busy, often with people mailing packages internationally, businesses mailing many large envelopes, each of which needs to be weighed, and people needing help with customs declarations. The lines are incredibly long, because my post office is poorly staffed to handle the actual customer traffic. Instead I drive four miles to another post office in a suburban area where there are four counter reps (instead of five at my post office) but a much, much less busy office. Hardly ever more than three or four people in line, and their transactions are much simpler: buying stamps and sending or receiving domestic packages. If the Postal Service had decent management, they'd shift staff so that customers who use busy offices have less wait time, but the problem has been ongoing for many years.

Posted by: bk0512 | January 29, 2010 8:37 PM | Report abuse

What I find very frustrating is the increasing removal of mail boxes. Yes, I know, it is expensive to have a mail truck stop at multiple mail boxes every day to pick up what may be just a few letters. But last week I wanted to mail something and went to where the mail box used to be - 1 block from my home. It's gone, and as I drove along I found that the nearest mail box along my route was 1-1/2 miles away. OK, I can drive, and I usually take my outgoing mail into my office. But if I wasn't working and not driving, what then? The PA attorney general was on our local radio station last week announcing that one should not put outgoing mail in or on one's mail box, because it leaves you open to identity theft if someone picks up your outgoing bill payments.

Frankly, I don't care if the Post Office makes a profit or shows a loss. It is an essential service. Privatizing is OK for businesses, but not for the non-business person who needs to mail the occasional letter. I have a couple of elderly neighbors, and I think I am going to let them know, the next time we chat, that I'd be happy to take anything they want to mail to my office so that it gets safely in the mail.

Posted by: vklip1 | January 29, 2010 8:51 PM | Report abuse

not every zip code has a post office in it. as a usps letter carrier i know this for a fact.the entire po needs a face lift, especially the management structure. craft employee voice is ignored, innovative thinking is discouraged. very frustrating atmosphere throughout

Posted by: mkurutz | January 30, 2010 9:20 PM | Report abuse

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