City Council, Post Office Working Out Mail Delivery Issues

7 years 7 months 5 days ago Thursday, December 16 2010 Dec 16, 2010 Thursday, December 16, 2010 6:16:38 PM CST December 16, 2010 in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia City Council and the Columbia Post Office are working to find a way to fix the ongoing problem of cars parking in front of mailboxes.

Last Monday residents complained at the city council meeting they haven't been receiving their mail because of parked cars in front of their mailboxes. The postal carriers are not allowed out of their vehicles and therefore can't deliver their mail. The council tabled the issue until January, but have been discussing with postmaster Cindy Bolles about actions the city can take to fix the problem.  

A handful of residents in the Vanderveen subdivision said they did have a problem with cars parking in front of their mailbox. They said it was usually a neighbor or someone they didn't know.

Resident Sara Ebersold said it happens to her and her roommates every once in awhile.

"Sometimes we don't get our bills on time, or things like birthday cards or things we're expecting like textbooks in the mail," Ebersold said. "It gets really difficult because we have to go all the way across town to pick up our mail."

Postal carrier Kelly Wetherhote delivers to 800 houses a day. She said she finds it frustrating, but understands why people do it. In the winter though, she said she hopes residents shovel their driveways and park there.

Bolles said this issue is common. 

"I've worked for the post office for 30 years and in the 30 years period of time, it's happened at just about every office I've been at," Bolles said. "So it's not that is just recently occurred here in Columbia, it's just recently it was brought to the attention of the city of Columbia."

The problem is more prominent in Columbia because it's a college town. It mostly happens in subdivisions where college students live.

"Here in Columbia, we're a large student population and so there has been a lot of duplexes built and when you build a duplex, you build it thinking there's going to be possibly two cars on each side," Bolles said.

She said with students however, there could be up to six to eight vehicles per duplex, leaving the street the only place to park.

Bolles said she doesn't think people park in front of the mailboxes intentionally, they just don't think about it. Carriers deliver mail to as many as 600 to 1200 mailboxes a day. Because of this, Bolles said it isn't possible for the carriers to get out at every stop.

Bolles said she and the council are considering a few options. One includes putting the mailboxes on the same side of the driveway to open up parking spots. Another option is the one the post office prefers most.

"This is one of the post office's most likely option and that is to have centralized delivery. That would be locked mailboxes at the beginning of the subdivision where every patron in the subdivision would have a key."

She said giving people tickets for parking their car in front of a mailbox was not discussed between her and the city council and she did not see this as a feasible option.

"It's like I said before, I may not realize I'm blocking a mailbox and then I get a ticket and that's the first time I really know that I'm blocking a mailbox," Bolles said.

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