2011-07-29 / Top Stories

Peninsula May Lose Two Post Offices

By Nicholas Briano

The post office at 90-14 Rockaway Beach Boulevard is one of two peninsula USPS locations on the chopping block. The post office at 90-14 Rockaway Beach Boulevard is one of two peninsula USPS locations on the chopping block. The United States Postal Service (USPS) released a study list of proposed post office closings, including the Rockaway Beach (11693) and Arverne (11692) branches in an effort by the government agency to meet what is described as a diminished demand for post office services.

The move comes as the post office believes the use of regular mail services have declined and wants to opt for vil- lage post offices instead of traditional full-scale post offices. The village post office would be run by local businesses such as pharmacies and grocery retailers who would offer stamps and flatrate packing options for shipping. This would become the likely scenario if USPS decides it needs to close these two locations. It’s not known yet if the post offices would shutter completely or just the retail aspect of the buildings.

The study list of nearly 3,700 post offices around the country can lead to a reduction in nearly 10 percent of all post offices around the country. The move is seen not only as a cost-cutting strategy but as a means to meet customer demands, USPS officials contend.

“Today, more than 35 percent of the Postal Service’s retail revenue comes from expanded access locations such as grocery stores, drug stores, office supply stores, retail chains, self-service kiosks, ATMs and usps.com, open 24/7,” said Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe in a statement. “Our customers’ habits have made it clear that they no longer require a physical post office to conduct most of their postal business.”

Village post offices already exist in many parts of the country and locally in Broad Channel. Also known as Approved Postal Providers, they would be expanded under the plan to include not just postage sales, but letter mailing and post office boxes as well, but with longer operation hours that match the particular retailer.

According to the USPS the list of possible post office closures was based on studies that include revenue and customer numbers. They will study the list over the next four months to determine which need to be shut down. The study period will also consider the post office’s surrounding area and whether it can accommodate the same level of service as expected from a village post office. The USPS can close a post office based on a lack of consumer traffic and revenue.

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