Post office survives but mail carriers — and their trucks — leaving Broadway

mail truck, originally uploaded by subsetsum.

It’s probably not a big surprise that with the announced closure of the US Post Office at 23rd and Union, rumors of the Broadway facility’s demise have been reborn.

Here’s how the probably tired of being asked Postal Service spokesperson put it when we asked:

It’s not that the facility is closing because it is not.

There you go. But something, indeed is changing.

Mail carriers headquartered at the Broadway post office are being transitioned to a new “consolidated” carrier facility at 4th and Lander, USPS tells us. There, they’ll join carriers from the International District and 23rd and Union offices in a mailman and mailwoman jamboree. And, yes, that means they’ll be taking their trucks with them. The change also has other manifestations. Services such as USPS accepting delivery from UPS and distributing to your home or work from the Broadway office will follow the carriers to SoDo.

The front line of a federal service on the shakiest of financial footing, the Broadway post office has a lease for its Capitol Hill home through at least 2015. Its building’s new landlords told CHS last year that they intended to work with USPS to keep the facility for as long as the feds were willing to pay for it.

CHS reported last week on the shuttering of a business in the building to the north due to what the shop owner said is a demand for a 40% increase in her rent.

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9 thoughts on “Post office survives but mail carriers — and their trucks — leaving Broadway

  1. I wonder how many more miles and hours this will add to their fleet. More fuel consumption and longer worker hours, not to mention the local impact on congestion and air quality. I know they were paying for overflow parking in a private lot but it’s crazy that moving every vehicle to SODO makes financial sense.

  2. Isn’t it time they dropped service levels to fewer days per week? If they dropped to a MWF schedule, it wouldn’t really create that severe of a gap in service for people receiving mail. The German postal service basically outsourced all of its locations and it has worked really well.

  3. It used to be that a letter carrier would report to a post office, pick up their first load, and WALK their route, picking up and dropping off mail in “divide boxes”, usually located next to street corner mail boxes. There would be a few vehicles servicing these divide boxes but most routes were on foot. (This is for cities. Rural routes were and are “mounted”.) That changed decades ago. Now the vast majority of routes are “mounted”, that is, a carrier will pick up their entire route at once and drive the route. There is no longer a need for these large post office sorting facilities in every neighborhood. The USPS should abandon this building as soon as they can and open up one or more storefronts, offering counter service and PO Boxes in a much smaller and theoretically cheaper, space.

    The cost savings is significant in parking alone, not to mention centralizing vehicle servicing and fueling. There is also savings in centralizing the distribution center. This is the perfect opportunity to build natural gas and/or electrical charging facilities for the next-gen fleet. Welcome, USPS, to the 21st Century.

  4. I agree with what you are saying. However the Post Office is not living in the 21st Century. I have read on this blog that the Post Office has said they can’t find any retail space on Broadway. They say the current location is too large, does not have parking and is out of date. Several years ago they held a forum at the library off Broadway and said they wanted to move the distribution to SODO and replace the current location with a smaller retail space. I have called, emailed and tried everyhing possible to get them to at least look at the retail space in the Lyric. They have not even returned my calls or emails. So much for their claims that they can’t find any space. No wonder this agency is going bankrupt.

  5. The only reason they were forced to contract was that Congress forced them in a ridiculous move to fund projected pensions right now at 75%, a way no business ever is forced to do the books. It’s rather ridiculous. Hurts rural locations more than urban ones, where we just need to schlep to SODO or wherever. And costs jobs. And Congress couldn’t be moved to care one bit.

  6. The Broadway post office is a terrible eyesore. If the landlord does intend to renew them, I sincerely hope he will do a better job maintaining and updating the building. The US Postal Service may not care what the building looks like but we in the neighborhood care deeply and are very disappointed by the owner of this building.

  7. Agree! No amount of updating will make a difference in the “eye-soreness” of this building….it would just be “putting lipstick on a pig.”

    The USPS building, and the one immediately to the north, should be just razed to make way for a (hopefully) attractive new building, with apartments/condos to take advantage of the light rail station across the street, and with some local retail (and perhaps a USPS facility) at street level. Keep your fingers crossed for this to happen!

  8. Pingback: USPS to move Central District PO boxes to Broadway | CHS Capitol Hill Seattle