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Queens Chronicle

Where’s the mail? Qns. residents ask

Delivery problems persist in Ozone Park, other borough communities

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Posted: Thursday, January 11, 2018 9:00 am

Cathy, an Ozone Park resident, finally received some mail Monday evening. It had been the first time anything was dropped in her box in three business days.

And while last Thursday’s “bomb cyclone” may have delayed delivery for a day, she and at least one of her neighbors say it’s not the first time there’s been a problem with getting mail.

“This is a problem,” Cathy said. “They’re not doing what they’re supposed to be doing. Something needs to be done about this.”

Bill Folz told the Chronicle Monday he went to the Post Office at 91-11 Liberty Ave. to find out why there were so many delays. An employee told him they were “too busy” to deliver, he says.

A spokesman for the United States Postal Service said in an emailed statement, “At no time would it be appropriate to say we are ‘too busy’ to deliver and we apologize to any customer who may have heard such a thing. Delivery is what we are here to do.”

Folz and Cathy said the problems with delivery go back to before the borough was hit with more than 10 inches of snow.

Folz said he’s missing several Christmas cards that were sent to his home during the holiday season. He said there have been several weeks where he and his neighbors go days at a time without getting mail.

And Cathy said when the mail does arrive, it comes as late as 6:30 or 7 p.m.

Still, the spokesman attributed the delays to Winter Storm Grayson.

“We had comprehensive emergency plans in place, carefully monitored weather conditions as the storm barreled up the East Coast, and provided guidance to local postal managers,” he said in a lengthy statement. “Frankly, many roads, side roads and sidewalks were impassable and we adjusted operations accordingly.”

He added pathways that are still blocked with snow have added to the problem.

“This means that snow will melt and may turn into black ice in many areas,” the spokesman said. “Unfortunately, if it is unsafe to deliver, our carriers will have to retain mail items until it is safe to deliver.”

Twenty-six carriers have slipped or fallen in the five boroughs during “such conditions” so far this fiscal year, the spokesman added.

“We know your readers would not want to start 2018 off with an injury and we must ensure that our carriers do not either,” he said.

A spokesman for Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-Brooklyn, Queens) said an emailed inquiry from the Chronicle was the first time the office had heard about the issue.

State Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach), though, said he’s familiar with the residents’ complaints.

“We understand that the snow, it will disrupt the mail service at some point but the issues were occurring even before the holidays,” Addabbo said in a Tuesday telephone interview. “It could be an important bill, or even the results to an important exam.”

The senator said he has not been given a definitive answer on what’s causing the delays and missed deliveries.

“I’m confident they’re looking into it,” he said. “But I don’t think they ever gave us a definitive answer as to why it’s happening. You want to make sure it’s reliable and consistent.”

The Ozone Park residents are not the only ones complaining.

Earl Roberts, a civic activist from Rochdale Village, said many in Southeast Queens had the same issues long before last week’s tundra-like temperatures.

“Back in the fall, [U.S. Rep.] Gregory Meeks (D-Queens, Nassau) held a community breakfast right before the elections,” Roberts said in a Tuesday interview. “A lot of people were complaining about the mail service.”

Rep. Grace Meng (D-Flushing) said in a series of social media posts on Monday that residents in Middle Village, Maspeth, Rego Park, Forest Hills and Flushing complained of missing deliveries.

On Tuesday, she said the storm and “lack of available regular carriers” caused the delays.

“Officials say service is back to normal and that mail is being delivered to every home and business,” she said.

Joann Ariola, president of the Howard Beach-Lindenwood Civic Association, said there were “some” complaints of missing deliveries following the snow.

Regarding deliveries in southwestern Queens, the USPS spokesman said, “Management officials have done site visits and are addressing challenges to full and regular mail delivery in Maspeth.

“We appreciate hearing concerns, complaints and compliments from those customers, all of which help us to assess the success of our action plans. Given volume, staffing and storm recovery efforts, some deliveries may be later than typical and we appreciate our customers’ patience in that regard,” he added

And in South Queens, “Operations returned to full working order in Ozone Park as of Saturday, where deliveries were safe to execute,” the spokesman said in his statement.

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1 comment:

  • kabukiguyt posted at 2:31 pm on Thu, Jan 11, 2018.

    kabukiguyt Posts: 1

    I received no regular mail on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday of the snowstorm weekend. However, package delivery continued as usual. When the carrier finally pulled up on Monday, around 5:45, I ran outside to find out what had happened. The carrier said, "You heard we had a blizzard, right?" So I asked why packages to my tenant had been delivered, and she said it was official policy to give priority to packages over regular mail. Sounds odd to me. If packages can be delivered, it would seem, doesn't it follow that regular mail can as well, especially as people are often waiting for checks, medicine, and other necessities, along with catalogues and advertisements? What am I missing here?