Clear snow for postal carriers

The Cleveland Heights U.S. Post Office is seriously understaffed, affecting not just our deliveries, but the health and safety of the postal carriers.

They are literally burdened with long hours in rain, snow, ice and mud trying to cover unfilled carrier positions. They are working in fatiguing and stressful conditions with increased potential for injury. In the worst situations, they are subject to robberies and shootings.

Cleveland Heights residents can help ensure postal carriers’ routes are as safe and unobstructed as possible. Remember, they are working long hours, into the evenings when natural lighting is dim. Many carriers may be filling in on an unfamiliar street.

Here are some things you can do to help them—and your neighbors, delivery services and emergency providers:

  • Keep main sidewalks clear of snow, ice, mud and any fallen debris or obstructions (including your dog’s poop—a most unpleasant, but frequent, slip hazard).
  • Clear a path from the sidewalk to your mailbox. Porches, steps and railings should be clear and secure enough to navigate while carrying a heavy package or mailbag.
  • If possible, shovel a “shortcut” path directly from your neighbors’ houses to your own; this can save many extra steps for postal carriers.
  • Turn on outdoor lighting near dusk or during heavy rain or snow; turn it off after mail is delivered. Make sure your house address and mailbox are easy to find.
  • Park cars in drives where they don’t obstruct a path to the mailbox, if space allows.
  • If you will be away, arrange for a neighbor or service to clear snow on your property.
  • If you know a neighbor can’t shovel for some reason, find a way to help them—share the responsibility with capable teens or other neighbors.

Some cities, like Lakewood, have volunteer neighbor-to-neighbor snow-clearing programs. Council Member Gail Larson is looking into options for Cleveland Heights, and we can expect to hear more.

Thankfully, I live on a street with very generous neighbors who routinely use their own snowblowers to clear sidewalks on both sides of our street. They set an example of civic goodwill and lessen the load for everyone else—but they can’t do it all.

Whether you are a homeowner or a renter, snow needs to be cleared for access to your mailbox. Be a good neighbor and do your part.

At the Jan. 3 CH City Council meeting, several persons made public comments regarding postal delivery problems. The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is operated by the federal government and is undergoing reform. The city has no control over federal postal worker hours, conditions, or hiring.

To complain about postal staffing shortages and service issues, Heights residents can contact the USPS, U.S. Rep. Shontel Brown, or U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown or J.D. Vance and demand action. Postal workers themselves can file grievances and demand relief through their respective unions and representatives.

Alice Jeresko

Alice Jeresko is an environmental advocate who first moved to Cleveland Heights in 1998.

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Volume 16, Issue 2, Posted 11:54 AM, 01.31.2023