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New post office needed in Forest Hills: Weiner

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Many say it isn't.

"This post office is overburdened, and it shows everyday," U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Forest Hills) told a news conference at the post office Monday.

Holding a bundle of complaints his office had gotten from Forest Hills residents about late or lost mail, Weiner announced the U.S. Postal Service had begun a study to find out how to alleviate these problems.

"I believe there should be an entirely new post office," said Weiner.

The Forest Hills Post Office, which services 34,000 homes in the 11375 ZIP Code, is expected to have delivered some 83 million pieces of mail by year's end and is the busiest post office in Queens, said Flushing Postmaster William Rogers.

Some say it's also the worst.

"Sometimes the lines go all the way out to Queens Boulevard," said Barbara Stuchinski, president of the Forest Hills Community and Civic Association.

"We always get our mail at 8 p.m.," said Stuchinski.

"For years we took on an incremental approach like a change in management or having mail delivered on Sundays," said Weiner. "I am firmly convinced the problems here are systematic."

Rogers said the volume of mail going through the Forest Hills Post Office had increased tremendously since he managed it 15 years ago. And when the Forest Hills Post Office was built, the neighborhood was entirely residential.

He said eight Postal Service employees two weeks ago began a Breakthrough Productivity Study on the post office, examining every aspect of work, including mail sorting, travel delivery routes and map accuracy.

Rogers said the study would continue for at least another month through the heart of the holiday season, which is the busiest time of the year for mail.

After the study is completed, officials may decide to increase the number of postal workers, or even divide the 11375 ZIP code so that Forest Hills would have two post offices, Weiner said.

The post office at 106-28 Queens Boulevard currently has 149 employees.

"My office is right down the block and we don't get the mail until 2 in the afternoon," said Councilman Morton Povman (D-Forest Hills.)

Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills) and state Sen. Dan Hevesi (D-Forest Hills) also attended the press conference.

In the last 10 years a large number of immigrants from Russia and Eastern Europe have moved to Forest Hills, which means a good deal of letters and packages are sent to and from the countries.

While important family letters or bills may be arriving late, Koslowitz said junk mail also is delayed

"People are missing their sales," said Koslowitz, referring to retail advertisements sent out through the mail. "Sales are very important to people in this community."

When asked about the post office's plans to make changes, Stuchinski, said, "show it to me and I'll believe it."

Posted 7:16 pm, October 10, 2011
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