Budget axe hangs over Sunset post office

The Sunset Park post office on 61st Street is on the choppingblock and residents are not happy about it.

The Sunset Station at 6102 Fifth Avenue is one of 3,653 branchesnationwide – 20 within the five boroughs –listed by the United States Postal Service(USPS) late last month as sites to consider for closing orconsolidation. Branch closings are one of several cuts proposed bythe USPS to close a $20 billion earnings gap by 2015, according to Postmaster General PatrickDonahoe.

Among the criteria USPS will use to determine which post officescould be shut down, said USPS Spokesperson Darleen Reid-DeMeo, areproximity to another post office or another place to purchasestamps or priority mail products, and a decline in customertraffic.

The Sunset Station branch fits these criteria, but the idea thattheir local post office is expendable frustrates residents who liveand work nearby.

I think it’s wrong to close it because the only other one is on55th Street [and Seventh Avenue]. This is the only one available inthe immediate vicinity, said Thomas Kirwan, a senior citizen whostops by during his walks. I live on 60th Street and have beenusing it for 15 years, for mailings and packages.

It’s important to me because I need to pay my rent, saidCiprina, an immigrant from Mexico who considers the station alifeline, for herself and her family. I need to send packages tomy family, to Mexico, to Florida and Colorado.

If the Sunset Station branch closes, along with the Ovington branch at 68th Street and FourthAvenue, the sole remaining location would be the Bay Ridge Stationat 55th Street and Seventh Avenue, which is a bigger branch thatdoes large-scale mail pick-ups and package deliveries.

But shifting customers would create problems where none existnow, said Anthony Lewis, a Staten Island resident who works inSunset Park.

They shouldn’t close it because the one on 55th Street willthen be overcrowded, he said. This one helps the communitybecause you can get money orders and stamps. The other one alwayshas mail trucks and you can never find parking.

Another side effect would be the loss of jobs for localresidents employed as post office clerks, noted a postal worker whodelivers mail in a nearby section of Sunset Park. We all heardabout it in the news and there are two problems: one, people willlose their jobs, and two, people will have to walk far away, hesaid. People have known about [cutbacks] since last year, butespecially for old people, it’s very hard.

The USPS proposal is now underconsideration by the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC);according to Reid-DeMeo, decisions on each branch’s fate will bemade in October. In the meantime, the PRC would like to hear fromthe public, customers and stakeholders.

Brooklynites can register their opposition by calling the PRC at(202) 789-6800 or the USPS at 1-800-ASK-USPS.

For more information on the proposed closures, see related storyon page 5.

Amanda Woods contributed reporting to this article.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.