In the U.S. Postal Service’s zeal to close postal facilities and cut costs, it’s interesting to note which neighborhoods it’s targeting.
In at least two cases in New York City, the USPS plans to shutter and/or sell off post offices in minority and lower income neighborhoods: the Bronx General Post Office and the Tito Puente post office in East Harlem.
Certainly, these proposals could invite accusations of bias in the postal service’s decision-making.
According to the New York Times, http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/01/postal-service-considers-sale-of-bronx-general-post-office/ the USPS wants to sell off the 100-year-old Bronx General Post Office which not only serves the entire community but has been landmarked by New York City and displays important paintings by artist Ben Shahn.
Shahn’s paintings, by the way, celebrate labor and its contribution to America—sentiments that may not be too popular in some quarters.
In the other case, the USPS is eyeing the closure of the Tito Puente Post Office in largely Hispanic East Harlem, says the New York Daily News http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/uptown/postal-ito-e-harlem-puente-station-closed-article-1.1249903.
In both cases, the operations are expected to be moved to smaller leased facilities more appropriate for the reduced volume of mail the facilities now handle with the growth of email, mobile communications and the like.
In both cases, the USPS reportedly has yet to find locations for bthese smaller replacements and must deal with local opposition as you might expect.
But lost in this process is the human cost that these shutterings would have on their communities. For example, how would their closure and reopening elsewhere affect the disabled and older people who also can’t move around that easily?
Overall, the USPS’s planned facilities closures and other cost cutting measures are only expected to save about $20 billion a year while the postal service continues to hemorrhage about $25 million a day and reported a more than $11 billion loss for the year ended Sept. 30.
Maybe Congress, which did not pass any postal reform legislation in the last session, may act this