As Congress is wrangling over how to shape the future of the struggling United States Postal Service, the USPS is moving ahead with major cutbacks. From proposing to stop mail delivery on Saturdays, to this summer’s announcement that it is considering closing 3,700 offices, the USPS is trying to cut costs in a tough economic climate, and with emails continuing to replace stamped-and-sealed means of communication.
For Falls Church, as of November, this means losing a branch in the Pimmit Hills area.
The Pimmit Branch, located at 7520 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, will close its doors Nov. 10. The nearest branch to this location is the Falls Church City post office, known as the Falls Church Finance Station, located at 800 W. Broad St., about two miles away. Slightly farther away is the Merrifield Retail Unit, located at 8409 Lee Highway.
According to Laura Dvorak, a representative of the Northern Virginia district of the United State Post Office, the USPS considers many factors before determining a branch should be shut down or consolidated with another branch, including but not limited to the volume of work coming into the office and how close it is to other places where people can take care of their shipping needs.
She said that the Pimmit Branch has been in that review process since 2008. Dvorak also says that the Internet and retail outlets that offer postal services can also meet some of the needs of postal customers otherwise handled by the closing branch.
Elaine Mittleman, an attorney who works from her home in Pimmit Hills, says she was “devastated” by the news that her local branch would be closing.
“I rely on that branch,” Mittleman said. “There is no good alternative for me.” She added that taking public transit to the Broad Street office can take an hour and sometimes two hours.
Matt Martz, president of the Pimmit Hills Citizens Association, which represents 1,600 households in the area, said many of its residents are elderly and don’t drive in the area, meaning they would have to take public transit to other post offices.
While Dvorak said that customers are consulted during the review process, both Mittleman and Martz found that notice insufficient and plan to fight the USPS decision.
Mittleman plans to file an appeal with the Postal Regulatory Commission, and Martz has encouraged residents to send letters to representatives, sign petitions and make their opinions heard.
“We know the Post Office is losing money,” Martz said. “But this is still not a way to treat customers.”
According to Dvorak, two clerks staff that location, and they will be relocated to other USPS positions in the Falls Church area. Clerks working at the branch declined comment to the News-Press.