Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Urban design and changes to post office delivery methods

The latest proposal for "reforming" the US Postal Service and reducing costs includes ending door-to-door delivery of mail, by creating "cluster mailboxes."

-- Our Plan - Saving the Postal Service, House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
-- "Door-to-Door Mail Delivery on Chopping Block,"  CBS News

Cluster delivery has been the method of delivery for a long time in newly constructed suburban subdivisions.

However, while the figure of 80 cents per day per household was bandied about as the cost of providing mail delivery, I imagine that is an average, that it is cheaper to provide door-to-door service in dense neighborhoods and more expensive in less dense neighborhoods.

Although not according to the CBS News article, which says that the cost of delivery to city households is $353/year, almost $75 more than the cost to suburban/rural households.

But doing suburban-style cluster mailboxes in the city would be a disaster.

Although it is possible to have decent looking "street furniture" integrated into the cityscape that wouldn't be terrible.

I also think that modifying a British style phone booth could work.

In any case, addressing this issue now is paramount, or at least figuring out what these proposals mean to cities.

2.  Also, as a revenue generating measure, it would be possible to add some large boxes to these urban-appropriate cluster boxes for use by package services like FedEx and UPS (the general problem was discussed here, "City transportation departments need to set up innovation units") on a fee basis.  The use fee could go to USPS.

3.  Concerning the separate issue of closing post offices, the National Trust for Historic Preservation has a blog entry with 10 steps for advocacy campaigns focused on saving local offices.

-- "10 Ways to Fight for Your Local Post Office," PreservationNation Blog

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At 12:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

CBS has questionable reasons to cite such an amount for city services- I personally doubt their accuracy and integrity- as this might have suburban boosterism at it's base. Cites are most definitely cheaper for the post office to operate in. Driving huge distances is obviously far more expensive- anything that contadicts this is sheer idiocy and propaganda.

At 1:28 PM, Anonymous Sadie said...

here has been quite a bit of revitalization and neighborhood branding in my area and I think that neighborhood mailboxes in line with that trend would be good for the overall appearance of the area. water damage Washington DC

At 8:28 AM, Anonymous charlie said...

Given that the one of the post service that is is growing is priority mail package delivery, killing individual delivery seems beyond stupid.


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