Courier Life’s

Fight is on to save the P.O.

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Bay Ridge residents can’t do without the Ovington Post Office.

That’s the contention of State Senator Marty Golden, who has begun a campaign to retain the facility, at 6803 Fourth Avenue, after hearing that the United States Postal Service (USPS) was contemplating shutting it down.

Indeed, Golden — whose office had been contacted by area residents worried about the possibility — dashed off a letter to Brooklyn Postmaster Joseph Chiossone late last month urging him not to close the branch, where a petition drive organized by the community is currently underway.

“The post office at Fourth Avenue provides necessary services to the residents of Bay Ridge,” Golden wrote. “If this branch were to close, this would cause considerable hardship for many of my constituents.

“For the senior citizens who live in the area,” he added, “reaching another neighborhood branch would be extraordinarily difficult, perhaps impossible.”

Darleen Reid, a spokesperson for USPS, said that the post office was indeed being looked at for possible closure, as are over 3,000 other branches and stations around the United States now under review.

“Everything’s on the table,” Reid said, adding, “It’s important to know that our reviews are not finalized. That’s going to take months. We don’t plan on making any changes till our fiscal year ends, which is September 30th.”

Specifically, said Reid, USPS is trying to develop a strategy to deal with decreasing quantities of mail at the same time as high−tech equipment has enabled it to process more and more mail, more and more quickly.

“What we are trying to do is look at the space we have in the stations and branches and then look at the utilization of that space,” Reid explained.

“We are looking to optimize our facility space,” she added.

Among the factors that USPS is considering in making the decision to eliminate certain locations are the degree of utilization, the volume of mail and whether the space is leased or owned, Reid also said.

The decision to shut particular stations, she added, “Shouldn’t have any impact on customers. With mail volume dropping, the postal service is in trouble and the public needs to know that. Our goal is to continue to provide service to the public with no disruptions.”

The 1,625−sq­uare−foot Ovington branch is retail only, according to Reid, meaning no carriers use it as their base.

Overall, mail volume has declined since 2006, when 213 billion pieces of mail passed through USPS.

A total of 203 billion pieces of mail were processed by USPS in 2008, and USPS is projecting a further decline to between 170 and 180 billion for 2009.

Brooklyn mail volume is down 17.2 percent, said Reid.

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