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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • Post office can ask for, not require, moving mailboxes

  • A recent letter from the St. James Post Office requesting mailboxes at residences be moved to the curb caused some confusion from those residents who received them.
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  • A recent letter from the St. James Post Office requesting mailboxes at residences be moved to the curb caused some confusion from those residents who received them.
    The letter implied that St. James residents were required by law to comply with this move or lose mail service. Not so, according to Dottie Torta, the officer in charge of the St. James Post Office.
    "We would like for them to because they're going to get their mail quicker," said Torta. "With them driving, the mail gets out earlier ... and it's actually safer for my carriers because we've had a lot of accidents in this area."
    There are bills in Congress that could legally require the mailboxes to be relocated to the curb, but as of now, no action on the federal level has been made.
    "This is for safety, and it's more efficient," Torta said. "If you've got a loop that is a 45- or 50-minute walk, we can do that in 15 or 20 minutes of driving. And we have all these gumball trees everywhere. We've had five people injured just this year from the gumball trees. And you can't walk on the sidewalks here. The roots have pushed them up in the air and it's dangerous."
    Torta said that packages will still be brought to the front door regardless of where the mailbox is located.
    Residents were also informed in the letter that the post office may be able to help furnish mailboxes for those who are unable to afford them.
    "We furnish the mailbox and the poles," Torta said. "I still have a pile on my desk."
    In ZIP code 65401, Rolla, no such letters have gone out.
    "We have a lot of injuries from carriers walking through yards, potholes and kids' toys. Dog bites are the biggest injury in our industry," said Jim Woodman, postmaster at the Rolla Post Office. "So if a letter carrier can stay in his car and run his or her route, it is safer and more efficient."
    According to Woodman, the concern for safety has been the No. 1 reason that communities such a St. James have sent out such letters. He added that the United States Postal Service (USPS) is a business just like any other.
    "We are always looking at processes and seeing how we can become more efficient and less costly and eliminate wasted functions," he explained.
    That often translates into shorter lines at the local post office and earlier and more accurate delivery.
    "We get constant feedback from our customers and we actually do listen and pay attention and take action based on that."
    Woodman said that one change that is taking place in Rolla is that the USPS is now requiring any new subdivision that is being constructed to have centralized box units in place as opposed to curbside mailboxes.
    Page 2 of 2 - As for universal curbside delivery in Rolla, Woodman doesn't see that coming in the near future but supports the idea.
    "A carrier can deliver three times the amount of mail on a curbside route as opposed to a walking route."
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