Postal Service should revisit its decision on mail delivery
The U.S. Postal Service's one-size-fits-all scheme for delivery of mail to new housing developments ignores a basic reality: Urban and suburban communities are different on many levels.
For instance, a walk to a central location in Canfield where mail boxes are clustered may be an enjoyable experience, but it isn't necessarily so in Youngstown's inner city.
Indeed, having boxes without locks in Youngstown is an invitation to mail theft.
It surprises us, therefore, that the Postal Service did not take such differences into account when it decided that "cluster box units" are the preferred mail delivery option for new developments.
While it is true that suburbanites face challenges where they live, those pale in comparison to ones that confront urban residents.
That is why the Postal Service needs to reassess how mail is being delivered to Arlington Heights single-family homes on Youngstown's North Side. These structures are replacing the Westlake Terrace Homes which consisted of 300 public housing units. When the project is completed, there will be 30 single-family homeownership units and 75 rental units.
At this time, there are four homes on the Arlington Heights property. And the owners of those homes aren't happy with the postal service's decision to discontinue door-to-door delivery that had been the practice when the 300 units were occupied.
The Youngstown Metropolitan Housing Authority contends that the Arlington Heights project is not new development because the homes simply replace housing in an existing neighborhood.
Eugenia Atkinson, executive director of the YMHA, told The Vindicator that Postal Service officials contend that door-to-door delivery in Westlake Terrace was a mistake. It appears that a carrier took it upon himself to deliver mail that way.
Dan Van Allen, Postal Service spokesman, said that with the exception of hardship delivery -- delivery to people with extreme physical hardships -- it is impossible for residents to receive their mail on their front porch.
"Delivery is free to consumers, but it costs money," Van Allen said.
But the situation involving Arlington Heights is not at straightforward as the Postal Service's implementation of a procedure that applies to all new developments.
Even if Atkinson's contention that the homes are merely replacing housing in an existing neighborhood falls on deaf ears, the project architect claims it was told by the Postal Service that door-to-door mail delivery would be acceptable.
"When you have an urban development, like Arlington Heights, where elsewhere in the area is getting door delivery, the post office will usually provide it for the new residents," Cindy Piccone, project manager for Ralph A. Falbo Inc. and Penrose Properties, said.
The postal service needs to revisit its decision and take into consideration all the factors that go into living in the inner city. A one-size-fits-all scheme may be cost-effective, but it is not necessarily in the best interest of the customers.