Schenectady County

Glenville residents worried about safety with mailbox request

Van Buren Road residents are up in arms over a request by the U.S. Postal Service to move their mail

Van Buren Road residents are up in arms over a request by the U.S. Postal Service to move their mailboxes to the curb, which they say will cost them time and money.

Clara Schlueter of 23 Van Buren Road said 40 out of the 45 residents signed a petition protesting the request, which they had received in a letter last month, that the mailboxes be installed by July 1. Residents currently have mailboxes on their homes.

“It’s not an ordinance. There’s no law. Who’s to say that we need to do this?” she said.

Schlueter said she worried the mailboxes would tie up traffic on the street, which does not have wide shoulders, because the mail carriers would have to stop their truck about every hundred feet.

“If a bus gets stuck behind one of these things, then nobody can pass. It’s just an accident waiting to happen,” she said.

Postal officials are pushing back that initial deadline to give residents more time, according to spokeswoman Maureen Marion. However, she did not know when the new deadline would be. The 50 or so residents affected will receive another letter in the mail.

Marion said the change is necessary for safety — both for the carrier and other cars on the road. It is easier to see a truck than it is to see a letter carrier on the side of the road, especially during the winter months when it is darker.

“The amount of snow that comes into the yard makes it virtually impossible for carriers to cut across the lawn,” she said.

Marion would not say what the post office would do if the people did not move the mailboxes.

Neighbor Mary Gibbons, who lives at 33 Van Buren Road, noted residents have been contacting the post office for a month but had trouble getting a timely response about whether it was a request or a mandate. Gibbons also questioned the wisdom of putting mailboxes at the curb. “I’ve lived in my house for over 30 years and I never heard of an incident,” she said.

She pointed out that if an 80-year-old person falls while retrieving mail from the curb-side mailbox, he or she might not recover from that.

Glenville Supervisor Chris Koetzle said the town also had not heard from the post office directly about this issue.

“I do think the residents had valid questions as to why they wanted to do this. Those questions couldn’t be answered.”

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