In a move designed to streamline operations and save money, the United States Postal Service plans to review more than 3,600 branches nationwide to decide which ones to close.
Post offices in the Sewickley Patch area, including and , are not on the postal service's list of branches under review.
Here are the Pittsburgh branches that are under review:
- Allegheny/North Side (Zip Code 15212)
- Bellevue (Zip Code 15202)
- Brookline (Zip Code 15226)
- Fourth Avenue/Downtown (Zip Code 15222)
- Gateway Center/Downtown (Zip Code 15222)
- Hazelwood (Zip Code 15207)
- Sharpsburg (Zip Code 15215)
- Uptown Pittsburgh (15219)
- Veterans Hospital (Zip Code 15240)
- Wylie/Hill District (Zip Code 15219)
A spokeswoman for the USPS told Patch the study covers retail branches only, and she stressed that delivery is not under review.
“Customers have shown us that they no longer need a brick-and-mortar post office,” spokeswoman Valerie Hughes said.
She pointed to the USPS’s automated postal centers, mobile apps and online services as well as retailers who sell postage.
Hughes said the USPS has seen a 200-million decline in visits to post offices over the past five years.
Postmaster Patrick Donahoe also referred to evolving customer behavior in announcing the review of postal branches.
“Today, more than 35 percent of the Postal Service's retail revenue comes from expanded access locations such as grocery stores, drug stores, office supply stores, retail chains, self-service kiosks, ATMs and usps.com, open 24/7," Donahoe said in a statement.
"Our customer's habits have made it clear that they no longer require a physical post office to conduct most of their postal business."
Review is first step, closure possible
The review process does not mean closure is a sure thing. The Huffington Post reports the USPS announced a review of 1,400 offices in January, but has closed only 280 of those so far and spared another 200.
According to an article from UPI, the closure review covers about 11 percent of post offices around the country. There are more than 31,000 in all.
The Huffington Post reports that the USPS lost more than $8 billion in 2010. Its article describes an alternative to the traditional branch, the so-called Village Post Office.
“By working with third-party retailers, we’re creating easier, more convenient access to our products and services when and where our customers want them,” Donahoe said. “The Village Post Office will offer another way for us to meet our customers’ needs.”
Changing times, changing needs
The USPS began reviewing the viability of its branches in 2009, with a list of more than 3,300 branches. Most survived, with only about 170 still under review by year’s end.
In January 2010, the post office updated the Public Regulatory Commission on the review process, explaining the post offices that faced closure were “in relatively close proximity to one another where consolidations might be feasible without compromising customer access.”
In a USPS press release that month, Dean Granholm, vice president of Delivery and Post Office Operations, acknowledged “Consumer behavior is changing."
"It is important for the Postal Service to adjust to the shift,” he said.
Regional Editor Holly Edgell contributed to this article.