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Bronx post offices still in danger

In December, the United States Postal Service released yet another updated list of postal stations and branches under consideration for closure, but three Bronx stations and branches remain: Van Nest, Oak Point and Crotona Park. Fewer than 170 postal stations and branches are still in danger nationwide.

The Botanical, Clason Point, Hillside and Melcourt postal stations were under consideration for months but have escaped consolidation. Two postal stations in Queens and one in Manhattan remain on the list as well.

“I will not accept a result that harms Bronx mail patrons,” Congressman Jose Serrano said. “We have just as much right to accessible, quality branches as any other New York City community.”

Residents of Bedford Park petitioned against the possible closure of the Botanical station and attended a public hearing held by the United States Postal Regulatory Commission in September at Fordham Universtiy. So did residents of Van Nest. Deputy Borough President Aurelia Greene testified.

“We’re deeply concerned,” Greene said.

USPS handled 4.5 percent less mail in 2008; it attributed the shortfall to Internet use and the economic recession. But the Bronx is wrong for consolidation; it added some 60,000 residents between 1990 and 2008, Greene said.

The Oak Point postal station, on E. 149th Street between Prospect and Union avenues, near the E. 149th Street 6 IRT subway station, sits a half-mile southeast of the HUB postal station on Westchester Avenue, a mile northwest of the Hunts Point postal station on Manida Avenue, and a mile northeast of the Mott Haven Station on E. 139th Street.

The Crotona Park postal station, on Boston Road between E. 173rd and E. 174th streets, near the E. 174th Street 2/5 IRT subway station, sits less than a mile southwest of the West Farms postal station on Devoe Avenue, a mile southeast of the Tremont postal station on E. Tremont Avenue, and less than a mile north of the Boulevard postal station on Southern Boulevard.

“There are pros to having a station in the neighborhood to pick up mail,” Community Board 3 district manager John Dudley said.

Most residents of Crotona Park and Claremont Village who use the Crotona Park postal station would use the West Farms station if the former were to close. But the extra travel would be somewhat inconvenient, Dudley said.

USPS has suggested that Bronx residents use the Internet to process mail. But the Internet is unaffordable for some Bronx residents and incomprehensible to many seniors, opponents have argued. Many Bronx residents use postal stations to obtain no-surcharge money orders.

Serrano has inserted language into an annual spending bill that directs the USPS to adhere to its own guidelines, he said.

Reach reporter Daniel Beekman at 718 742-3383 or dbeekman@cnglocal.com

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