Removal of 300 mail collection boxes begins

By David McArthur - bio | email  
Posted by Charles Gazaway - email

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - It is another sign of the slumping economy - your options for sending mail are getting fewer and farther between. WAVE 3 originally reported on November 12th the United States Postal Service would be cutting back on mail collection boxes on Louisville streets. WAVE 3's David McArthur reports the removal process started.

We all know the familiar blue boxes. There are fewer on the streets tonight and the number will continue to drop over the next three weeks, meaning you may have to find a new place to send your mail.

As the fall colors in Old Louisville mark the change of seasons, postal worker Charlie Holbert is marking another change in the economy.

"Usually it has not been but 3 or 4 pieces of mail in most of them," said Holbert.

Low volume and fewer resources now have Holbert picking up more than just the mail. He is taking the whole box.

"The mailbox is gone. Now we'll have to walk five blocks to get a letter mailed," said Ralph Deihl, an Old Louisville resident.

300 of the 900 collection boxes will come off Louisville streets. The postal service says the boxes are gone because more people are paying bills online, mailing them from work or just cutting back.

"The postal service, just like any other industry, we're struggling right now with the economy. On top of that, declining mail volumes. We've done tests on these boxes for months and they have been averaging about five pieces of mail," said David Walton, USPS spokesperson in Louisville.

Armed with a list of alternatives in hand, Holbert tries to redirect people needing to mail letters to other boxes. Neighbors are trying to be understanding.

"No I'm not mad. It's their decision. Raise stamps, now they eliminate our mailbox," Deihl said.

But while residential pickup continues, the loss of some blue landmarks on the corner mark the change of an era.

The postal service has other cutbacks are also underway, which include adjusting routes, reducing work hours and some early retirement offers. All of this will have an impact on customers, but USPS managers say the changes must be made now to keep the post office prepared for its financial future.