Post office OKs ‘home’ delivery in Eagle
September 1, 2005
EAGLE – The U.S. Postal Service has approved home mail delivery in Eagle.But don’t expect a postman clad in uniform shorts and black socks to be dropping letters off at your house any time soon. Home delivery these days doesn’t necessarily mean door-to-door service.Think of those large silver “cluster” boxes with mail slots for dozens of residents placed throughout neighborhoods, like in Vail, or, perhaps a privately financed satellite “mailhouse” in addition to the main post office. “Door-to-door delivery is a thing of the past,” Eagle Postmaster Sam McGibbon said. “It costs three times as much to deliver mail door to door as it does to deliver it to a central point.”That news came as something of a shock to the Eagle Town Board. The town trustees have been pushing for home delivery in Eagle for months now and even lobbied their congressman, U.S. Rep. Mark Udall.
“People are excited about home delivery. This isn’t it,” said Eagle Town Board member Stephen Richards. “I don’t think people are going to be for cluster boxes.”The town’s decision is pursuing home delivery because of traffic congestion on Chambers Avenue, where the post office is now located. The town’s population has jumped from about 1,500 to 4,500 in the past decade; and traffic has increased accordingly. Studies estimate that some 13,000 vehicle trips occur each day on Chambers Avenue, and much of that traffic is post office bound. Town officials have also been concerned about the often crowded post office parking lot. “We told the United States Post Office through a pretty good objective study that the facility on Chambers isn’t adequate for the community now,” Town Planner Bill Gray said. “With growth, it will continue to get worse,”He delivered another piece of news the Town Board wasn’t enthusiastic about: While the post office may have approved home delivery via cluster mailboxes or a satellite office, that doesn’t mean the federal government is going to pay for the new service. Somebody else, such as the town or a private entity, has to pay for them. “We’re trying to take an active role in solving a problem. The Post Office says, ‘Good idea – you pay,'” Gray said.
Such costs are usually covered by developers of new subdivisions, McGibbon said.Cordillera recently built and staffed a mail center. Residents of the upscale subdivision no longer have to pick up mail in Edwards. Brett Ranch and the Lake Creek Apartments in Edwards also have a form of home mail delivery.Figuring out where to put cluster boxes in neighborhoods is tricky because there has to be room for cars and the boxes, Eagle Mayor Jon Stavney said. “The Board has doubts about cluster boxes,” Stavney said. “They’re not necessarily part of the context of small town.”Town Board member Kraige Kinney said the need for home delivery is clear, pointing out that the post office parking lot is often packed between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. on weekdays. And Town Attorney Ed Sands said his home town, Rifle, has had home mail delivery since 1980. “I get a lot more service for my 32 cents (stamp),” Sands said.
Ultimately, the board agreed to continue exploring home delivery. “Why can Rifle have home delivery, and Eagle can’t?” asked Town Board member Jay Bryant.This story first appeared in the Eagle Valley Enterprise.Vail, Colorado