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“A slap in the face”, Waltham pushes for accessible mailboxes

WALTHAM – At 79, Carol Watts has lived in Waltham for about half her life. The retired teacher lives alone with her dog, Eva, but otherwise keeps busy. Watts said she has had mobility issues for the past few years.

“I can walk, but now I have trouble walking without a cane and if I go a long distance, without a walker,” Watts said.

For the past five years, Watts said she’s been constantly fighting for USPS drop boxes in Waltham. Specifically, the lack of accessibility for people with reduced mobility.

Watts pointed out that she tried to have her mail picked up at home, but ran into trouble with misplaced mail. She prefers to file it herself.

There are dozens of USPS drop boxes around Waltham, including outside the Post Office on Main Street.

However, Watts says none of them can also be driven. Drop boxes on Main Street and in surrounding neighborhoods were close to the road but faced inward toward the sidewalk, making them impossible to access from the road.

The USPS told WBZ-TV that these drop boxes face the sidewalk to protect pedestrians from passing cars as they insert their mail.

The USPS said it removed the last drive-in drop box last summer after several cars entered it. This design was considered a “snorkel box” which featured an extended opening to facilitate the insertion of mail from a car. The agency said there were no plans to replace him.

“We are a town of 65,000 people, two universities and 60,000 people who come here to work in our businesses every day,” said Waltham Councilor Paul Katz. “So there’s no reason the post office can’t provide this basic service to people with reduced mobility. It really is a slap in the face to the town of Waltham.”

Katz is one of two councilmen to introduce a resolution that would ask the local USPS postmaster to appear before council to answer questions about the lack of accessible drop boxes.


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