Big snow piles in residential areas can cause problems for everybody, but especially for those delivering your mail. Mail carriers often face snowy obstacles in the winter trying to get to your mailbox.
Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the resident to clear the path to the mailbox. If you don’t, it’s a good possibility your mail won’t get delivered.
KIFI/KIDK spoke with the Eagle Rock Post Office in downtown Idaho Falls on Wednesday. It said the office has received phone calls about mail not being delivered. The post office said in response, in part, if those sidewalks to the mailbox aren’t clear, the postal service simply can’t deliver. This is so because mail carriers do not have the time to shovel each and every person’s mailbox, and because it can be very unsafe for the worker.
“It does bother your back if you have to stretch out and reach outside too much. That is actually a postal requirement to have your box cleared off so you don’t have to leave your seat — unless you have a package or something, of course. They can only do so much about getting around mailboxes. And it’s kind of up to the customer to get it away from the box,” said USPS letter carrier Ron Grover.
The snow makes these guy’s jobs much harder with the cold, the slush and the ice.
“Yesterday, it was so bad you could hardly even drive down the middle of the street., let alone deliver,” Grover said.
When it comes to their jobs, the carriers have to make the decision to get you your mail or avoid possible injury.
“Five to six instances this last snowfall, already. You know, where we just didn’t take the chance of going up the steps,” said USPS letter carrier Jack Barton.
Whether driving or walking, it is always appreciated when mail carriers see a clear path to mailboxes on their routes. However, they do wish that it happened a little more often.
“It’s probably about 50/50. There’s a lot that are out here with their snow blowers. And their four-wheelers will clear out really well, as fast as they can,” Grover said.
“When they shovel their sidewalks, or better yet, a path from one mailbox to the other is even better. It really helps a great deal, you know, to make a little path for the mailman. Cuts down time,” said Barton laughing.
Here is the city of Idaho Falls snow removal policy and ordinance for mail delivery:
“City snow removal operators make every effort to remove snow as close to the curb as practical and to provide access to mailboxes for postal carriers. However, it is not always possible to provide ideal conditions and not damage mailboxes with the size and type of equipment the city operates. Therefore, the final cleaning adjacent to mailboxes is the responsibility of each resident. If there is an accumulation of snow blocking your mailbox, either remove the snow or set out a temporary box, bucket, plastic tub or garbage can that can be reached by your letter carrier and label it with your address and the words ‘U.S. Mail.'”
If you don’t live in Idaho Falls, check with your city’s website to see look up its specific snow removal policies.