Seldom used mailboxes vanishing around region

Mailboxes that are no longer being used are stored at the Park Street post office. Twenty-eight collection boxes were recently removed from the Cumberland area.

Cumberland Times-News

CUMBERLAND — Mailboxes are going the way of phone booths.

With more people paying bills online and using the Internet to send correspondence, the U.S. Postal Service has decided it needs fewer mailboxes.

The first week of August, the Postal Service conducted a one-week study of mailbox use, with plans to remove those that collect fewer than 25 pieces of mail per day. More than 350 collection boxes are being removed from the Baltimore District area of Baltimore City, Frederick, Eastern Shore, Cumberland and Annapolis.

Before any box is removed, officials post a seven-day public notice on the mailbox, informing users of the nearest alternative drop points, said Postal Service spokeswoman Freda Sauter. At least one collection box will be retained for approximately every square mile in residential areas, she said. Twenty-eight collection boxes have been removed from the Cumberland area.

About 2,300 mailboxes will be left throughout the Baltimore District.

The number of collection boxes, their location and the frequency of collection service depend primarily on the mailing patterns and the volume of mail generated by the individual community.

When these and other conditions change, collection service is modified and adapted accordingly. Sauter said the volume of first-class mail has dropped steadily over the past decade. Mail volume has slipped more than 5 percent since last year, and losses at the Postal Service have exceeded $1 billion so far this year.

Including the latest 350 boxes, there have been 800 collection boxes removed in the last 10 years. “We try to refurbish as many as we can,” Sauter said. “The really old ones are destroyed; the newer ones replace the old ones.

“The Postal Service takes every comment and concern about the removal of the collection boxes seriously and if needed will reinstall that collection box,” Sauter said.

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