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home : news : north central illinois   May 25, 2016

2/5/2014 5:40:00 AM
Got mail? If not, clear snow or the Post Office won't deliver

Tom Collins
NewsTribune Senior Reporter

La Salle’s postmaster reminded people Tuesday to clear a path to their mailboxes, acknowledging “isolated incidents” in which customers haven’t received mail because carriers can’t reach the boxes.

A winter storm advisory was in effect until noon today, and the U.S. Postal Service has issued a new advisory to clear sidewalks, stairs and mailboxes.

La Salle postmaster Kevin Christensen said mail carriers, already weighed down by heavy bags of mail, are frequently hurt falling on slick surfaces. Homeowners are advised to keep walkways and surfaces clear to avoid injury as well as facilitate mail delivery.

While clearing snow is a hardship for elderly residents, carriers cannot assist with snow removal, as Christensen explained to one caller who asked why her carrier couldn’t carry a snow shovel.

“I explained that he’s got 500 stops and if he’s got to stop and take 10 minutes to shovel out a mailbox, it’s never going to get delivered,” he said. “And that’s why it is on the homeowner. It would be nice if we had a pre-delivery service to clear out mailboxes, but at this time we don’t have the budget.”

Christensen estimates he’s sent 15-20 notices to customers following each winter storm, advising them to keep surfaces and walkways clear. His office services 24 routes in La Salle-Peru and Dalzell, and perhaps one residence on each route has not received mail due to snow/ice obstructions.

“Snow and ice make delivery dangerous and slow,” said Peter Allan, manager of the service’s central Illinois district. “Maintaining a clear path to the mail box — including steps, porches, walkways and street approaches – will help letter carriers maintain consistent delivery service, and help them get those letters and packages delivered.”

Delivery service may be delayed or curtailed whenever streets or walkways present hazardous conditions for letter carriers or when snow is plowed against mailboxes.

“The Postal Service curtails delivery only after careful consideration, and only as a last resort,” said Allen. “Any curtailed mail is attempted the next delivery day.”

Blue collection boxes also need to be kept clear for our customers to deposit their mail and for the Postal Service to collect the mail for delivery. Residents and businesses with collection boxes near their property are asked to keep them clear of snow and ice.

“We want our letter carriers to be safe,” added Allen. “We can only do this with the help of our customers.”

Tom Collins can be reached at (815) 220-6930 or

Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Article comment by: METALWORKER

I feel bad for elderly folks who just cannot clean snow from walks.
I do understand that the safety of mail carriers is and should be considered and that most carriers know the people on the routes they service and will use good judgment, they are to be complimented.
Neighbors should help the elderly and clean the walks for them. What is wrong with the youth today?
Me , if I were a carrier I would not deliver mail to those who are just to fat and lazy to take care of their own walks, they do not deserve their snap cards or unemployment checks. I live next to pair who are like that. They are among the first who will go on facebook and post pictures of the drifts while complaining about the poor service they get from the government postal workers.
So, I say for them, no clean walks no mail.

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