Separate ZIP code plan for Glendale has been stuck on Capitol Hill for years, congresswoman says

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For decades now, Glendale and Ridgewood have shared the same ZIP code — and Glendale residents have long asked the United States Postal Service (USPS) to grant them a code of their own.

Nearly two years ago, Congresswoman Grace Meng introduced legislation on Capitol Hill to establish a separate ZIP code for Glendale, but as with many other issues in Washington, the bill is stuck in a committee. After the first bill expired with the conclusion of the 113th Congress, Meng reintroduced it on Feb. 2, 2015, as H.R. 657.

Meng’s office told QNS that the lawmaker has been “in contact with the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee” urging them to take up the bill. Despite continued efforts by the Democratic lawmaker to get the bill moving forward, the committee — led by the Republican majority — has yet to take action on the matter. There are two other ZIP code bills currently stuck in Congress.

“It remains up to the committee on whether to allow the legislation to move forward, but I will continue to push for Glendale to be given a unique ZIP code, and I understand the importance of this matter to Glendale residents,” Meng said in a statement to QNS.

News of the stalemate struck Community Board 5 Chairperson Vincent Arcuri by surprise when contacted by QNS on Wednesday: “The community hasn’t heard anything or updated about it in years. We’re concerned about it not going anywhere in Congress.”

Kathy Masi, president of the Glendale Civic Association, offered that a Glendale ZIP code might not become a reality given the dire financial straits of the USPS. The postal service reported a $5 billion loss in 2015 and is undergoing restructuring.

Glendale has had something of a postal identity crisis since the 11385 ZIP code was created in the 1980s. Up until that point, Ridgewood and Glendale shared a ZIP code based in Brooklyn. Residents and business owners desired that they be in a Queens-based ZIP code after a spike in insurance premium rates, which were set by ZIP code and generally higher for areas associated with Brooklyn.

However, the shared ZIP code caused other confusion that led to problems related to mail and package delivery. For years, the USPS and computer programs did not recognize Glendale as being part of the 11385 ZIP code; only Ridgewood and Flushing were listed as neighborhoods in the zone.

In 2011, the USPS agreed to provide Glendale “preferred last line” status and recognition in the 11385 ZIP code. The postal service previously rebuffed requests for a separate ZIP code over what were called “operational factors.”

Even so, according to Masi, the “preferred last line” status hasn’t taken hold for Glendale, as many residents have reported not being given “a Glendale option” when filling out computerized address forms or typing in a Glendale address on a GPS.

“It would be a step in the right direction” if they could get the status right, Masi said.

If passed by Congress and signed into law by the president, the USPS would be directed to establish a Glendale ZIP code within 180 days.