Borough Park residents to get mail deliveries again
Service had been halted on 46th Street, pols say
Call it a special delivery.
Just 24 hours after holding a press conference in Borough Park to bring attention to mail delivery suspension on 46th Street, Assemblymember Dov Hikind said he has received assurances from the U.S. Postal Service’s top brass that all residents will continue to receive their mail as usual, regardless of where their mail slots are.
Hikind met with three USPS officials at his home on Wednesday, where the complaints from residents were reviewed.
Frank Calabrese, district manager of the USPS Triboro District, along with Thomas J. Surace, manager for Brooklyn Customer Services, and Roxanne Hosein, manager of marketing for the district, visited Hikind at his home. Hikind said the postal officials guaranteed that the matter would be resolved and that mail would be delivered to all residents in Borough Park.
Residents of that Brooklyn community criticized the local post office for apparently following the letter of the law a little too closely. Mail carriers refused to deliver mail to several Borough Park homeowners on the grounds that the mail slots in their front doors are so low, the carrier would have to stoop down too far to reach them.
Hikind (D-Borough Park-Midwood) and other elected officials said they’re furious about the mail slot scandal and called on the U.S. Postal Service to reverse its policy.
Mail slots in doors must be at least 30 inches above the floor, according to regulations outlined on the U.S. Postal Service website.
The mail delivery fiasco only recently developed, residents told Hikind. A mail carrier complained to postal officials about the low mail slots and a short time later, homeowners started receiving letters from a customer service representative stating that they needed to move the mail slots to higher positions or affix outside mailboxes to their properties and if they didn’t do so, mail could not be delivered to their homes.
Instead, mail is held at the local branch, the Blythebourne Post Office, at 1200 51st St., for residents to pick up in person.
Residents have been doing that ever since, enduring long lines at the post office just to retrieve their mail, according to Hikind, who said he met with more than a dozen residents of 46th Street to discuss the problem.
Many of the residents are senior citizens who have to stand on long lines to get their medications and other vital deliveries that used to come directly to their homes, Hikind said.
“Now residents have stopped receiving mail, elderly residents are being forced to wait on hour-long lines to receive vital mail, and some have been threatened that mail may be sent back to their points of origin. This is outrageous,” Hikind said.
As for moving their mailboxes, that’s a non-starter, Hikind said. Residents are worried that putting mailboxes outside of their homes “will expose their mail to theft and tampering, especially in this day and age of frequent identity theft,” he said.
State Sen. Simcha Felder (D-Borough Park-Midwood) and Assemblymember Felix Ortiz (D-Sunset Park) also condemned the delivery cessation.
“People rely upon the mail to be steady and dependable. This situation has made it difficult for them to live normally and comfortably,” Felder said.
Forcing residents to come to the post office to pick up their mail is impractical, according to Ortiz. “Many of these residents work during the hours that the local post office branch is open. The post office is tasking them with an impossible situation or a very expensive remedy,” he said.
In a letter to Brooklyn Postmaster Edward F. Roggenkamp, Hikind demanded that the postmaster reach out to the Blythbourne branch and “task them with completing their appointed rounds rather than set a precedent of punishing Brooklyn residents who only want their mail delivered, as it has always been, without incident.”
Postal officials did not return phone calls, but a postal spokesperson issued a statement to News 12 Brooklyn defending the decision to cease delivery. The low mail slots could cause injuries to a mail carrier, the spokesperson maintained.
“When regulations are established, it is with everyone’s best interests in mind. Safety is always our first priority and our experience has shown that failure to meet that requirement creates an injury risk to our carriers,” the statement to News 12 Brooklyn read.
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