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Where is your big blue mailbox?

March 17, 2009 |  4:47 pm

If you’re suddenly having trouble finding a neighborhood mailbox, you’ve got lots of company.

In recent weeks, one-quarter of the 3,700 collection boxes in the Los Angeles area have been removed, said Joseph L. Harrison, a spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service’s Los Angeles district.

The purging of 930 boxes throughout the area, including in Beverly Hills, Inglewood, Santa Monica and other communities, is part of a nationwide reduction prompted by government cutbacks and the shift to online bill-paying and e-mailing.

Irate residents and business owners in Northridge, Cheviot Hills, Santa Monica and West Hollywood have complained to the office of U.S. Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Los Angeles) about the loss of the familiar blue boxes, which many considered fixtures, like streetlights and telephone poles.

For more than 20 years, Mary Gonsalves’ customers could pop letters and bills into the two U.S. mailboxes in front of her Postal Center & More store in West Hollywood, and Gonsalves could count on letter carriers picking up bulky mail from her three times a day when they cleared the boxes.
No longer. In late February, with little notice, the U.S. Postal Service removed the boxes and halted the collections.

Now, Gonsalves must close her store for part of the afternoon and drive packages and other mail to a post office in time for the final 5 p.m. pickup.

“It is an inconvenience,” she said. “I don’t feel I should send my disabled and senior customers tramping up to the post office.”

--Martha Groves