Future of Bayside post office still undelivered

THE COURIER/photo by Melissa Chan

The fate of the Bayside post office branch has not yet been sealed, but a possible move is under discussion, according to a spokesperson for the United States Postal Service (USPS). Connie Chirichello, a USPS representative, said the widely circulated rumor of the 212-35 42nd Avenue post office branch closing and relocating sometime in 2013 was a “misunderstanding,” adding that the branch is only going through a routine national review of its operations.

“It’s a healthy review of our resources that will best incorporate them into long-term plans for effective and efficient retail service,” she said, adding that a definitive answer on the branch’s future will be determined at a later date.

Last week, Congressmember Gary Ackerman blasted the agency and announced its proposed plans to move the current centrally located branch — located off Bell Boulevard behind the Long Island Rail Road station — to a remote annex at 41-29 216th Street. Despite mixed responses from the USPS, a spokesperson for the congressmember said relocating is still the plan for now.

“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.”

Ackerman said the USPS presently leases both properties. Postal officials, he said, claimed swapping locations would save the agency money.

No jobs would be lost under the plan, but the congressmember said the agency still needs to follow proper procedure in consolidating facilities, which requires public notice, consultation and input.

“That has not happened,” Ackerman said.

According to Chirichello, the review currently conducted on the Bayside branch is being done to several postal facilities nationwide. She said reviewing offices has become increasingly important as the agency continues to face dire financial circumstances that partly stems from the 42 percent decrease in the amount of single-piece first-class mail since 2001.

“It is prudent for us to look for ways to improve efficiency by making better use of space, staffing, equipment and transportation in processing the nation’s mail,” she said. “A lot of things are on the chalkboard. Taking a look at Bayside is one of them and isn’t going to seal any deal.”

Bayside resident Frank Ringuette, who picks up his mail at a P.O. box in the Bayside branch, said if the change occurs it would be a huge inconvenience for him.

“It doesn’t make any sense,” he said.

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