By Phil Corso
Rumors that the United States Postal Service was considering closing Bayside’s post office proved to be true Friday, according to U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Bayside).
The plan, Ackerman said, includes shutting down the post office at 212-35 42nd Ave. near the Bayside Long Island Rail Road train station and moving all operations to the annex building by the Lawrence Cemetery at 41-29 216 St.
“If this is what they are considering, and we have received no official communication to so indicate as much, then this clearly would be a consolidation of facilities, and requires public notice, consultation and input,” Ackerman said. “That has not happened. We must insist that proper procedure is followed.”
The congressman criticized the Postal Service, adding that a potential increase in traffic and lack of parking near the new location could be a negative consequence for the surrounding community.
“Moving the Bayside branch from its prime spot in the middle of the area’s busy commercial strip to a remote and inconvenient location makes absolutely no sense,” Ackerman said. “Not only would this plan adversely impact the local residents and businesses who use this facility, but it could likely cause a further erosion in postal business since its customers may not trek to this out-of-the-way location.”
Retired Bayside businessman Jack Oshier and East Bayside Homeowners Association President Frank Skala have been part of a community resistance to keep the post office from closing down. Oshier said the post office may be choosing to relocate to the annex for lower rent costs.
But the biggest problem with the potential new location, Oshier said, was its accessibility to Bayside residents.
“There aren’t any sidewalks along the cemetery down there. This place has to be handicap accessible,” Oshier said. “This is something the Postal Service would really have to think about.”
Community members gathered to discuss the post office’s possible closing earlier this year, not anticipating a possible decision until February 2013, Oshier said. Now the post office may close as early as October.
“The Postal Service is in a financial death spiral, and we’re all aware that the agency is under intense pressure to cut costs. But making it more difficult for consumers to purchase its products and utilize its services is certainly not the way to go,” Ackerman said. “The Bayside facility has served the community well for many years and I urge the Postal Service to reconsider its decision.”
Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.