Post office box policies reflect ongoing changes
While the final picture is still fuzzy, it is clear that the Kenwood Post Office has changed a great deal in both composition and operations from the laid back, rural post office longtime residents are used to. Changes in personnel and policies have fostered a considerable amount of confusion that won’t necessarily be cleared up any time soon.
What is clear is that free P.O. boxes for Kenwood Village residents are a thing of the past. Whatever else takes place in mail delivery for 95452, that change is here to stay, according to Kenwood Postmaster Maria Molina and Augustine “Augie” Ruiz, in the USPS Corporate Communications of the Bay-Valley/San Francisco Districts in San Jose.
By way of background, the law of the land is that everyone is entitled to one free mail delivery on post office working days. When the main village of Kenwood was built back in the middle of the last century, it was decided that it would be more efficient to just give everyone a free P.O. box and not deliver the mail to every house in the village. Outlying rural residents, however, put up mailboxes in front of their property and continue to receive mail once a day, six days a week, like almost everyone else in the country.
Moving ahead 80 years or so, the dynamics and economics of postal delivery have changed radically with hundreds of millions more mail items being processed every day in the United States, with processing methods ramping up to accommodate the avalanche of mail. Where once local mail aimed at local addresses was hand cancelled and delivered the same or next day, now postal efficiencies dictate that all mail be sent to central, mechanical processing centers to be sorted into actual delivery sequence and returned to the local office for delivery, along with all the other mail destined for Kenwood residents, which by far outnumbers the local-origin mail.
Ruiz said that the post office will now deliver to Kenwood Village residents who put up a proper delivery box, and will no longer have to provide a free box.
“Once home delivery is provided, for those who were getting a free P.O. Box, they are required to pay for that box if they want to maintain it,” Ruiz wrote in response to email questions. “The mode of delivery established by the USPS will be home delivery as the free form of delivery once it is established, as is the case with Kenwood. In gated communities and/or new development sites, the mode of delivery will be cluster boxes, which constitutes as home delivery.
“The USPS establishes the mode of delivery; i.e., whether it is street side delivery or cluster boxes. In some neighborhoods, you might see door delivery on one side of the street and street side delivery and/or cluster boxes. That means homes with door delivery were grandfathered in before the homes with street delivery were constructed. What that means is new homes and housing developments will not get door-to-door delivery but instead the most economical mode of delivery, which would either be street side or cluster box delivery.”
What that might mean to future delivery routes and schedules remains to be seen. Molina said that changes are likely coming, but are not decided yet, and she was reluctant to make guesses about the final shape of local and rural delivery systems.
We’ll keep you posted.