Uh-Oh: Le Droit Park, Petworth Locations Among Possible Post Office Closings

DSCN1497, originally uploaded by Prince of Petworth.

Tons of readers wrote in on Friday about the possible Post Office closings in DC (photo above of Le Droit Park). We spoke of the Petworth post office back in March. The news of the potential closings were first reported in the Post’s Federal Eye blog. They wrote:

“The Postal Service has marked 677 post offices nationwide for possible closure or consolidation, according to a document given today to a House subcommittee holding a hearing on the future of American mail delivery. Among them are 10 post offices in the District and three in the Maryland suburbs of Hyattsville, Rockville and Silver Spring.”

Well, I for one think this is horrible. I use the post office from time to time to mail out t-shirts so it’s really convenient for me to have one in my neighborhood. But then again, I don’t really use the post office that frequently. So what do you guys think – should most neighborhoods in DC have their own post offices? Or have post offices really become a thing of the past?

43 Comment

  • The Petworth post office sucks. The people are rude, it looks 3rd world, and I’ve had a few instances where routine letters have taken a week to get to their destinations. I have no problem at all if they close it.

  • I think the Columbia Heights post office is actually the worst in the country. Soviet-style lines, not enough employees, the ones that are available are slow and surly. THe building looks like garbage both inside and out, and it’s dirty. They should close it, and open a small post office substation in DCUSA, with a mail slot and automated postage machine.

  • Good riddance.

    Buy your stamps at the bank or the grocery store and drop your stuff in a mailbox. Pay your bills online. Take the money that was going towards post offices and mail carriers and put it into library hours and public computers. Take the rest of the money that was paying for bloated retirement and put it into after school neighborhood study halls for kids and provide them a safe, staffed gym as well.

  • I need my Ledroit post office because I can’t get mail at my carriage house… because USPS is a LAZY PIECE OF CRAP. So I pay $300/year for a PO box, and walk 6 blocks a day to pick up my mail (not that exercise is a bad thing). I think I’ll be angry enough to poop in a bag and leave it on the post office front steps if they really decide to do this. GRRRRR!!!

  • The Petworth post office, where packages that I must sign for are held, is utter crap and routinely loses packages for me.

  • Not surprised by the answers so far — the comment board nowadays is chock full of malcontent haters. I’m sure the majority of posts will be bile-based. (When did everyone here turn and become so angry, especially towards working people?)

    For me, I am sorry that Petworth may be losing its post office but it’s not surprising. Because fewer and fewer people use the mails, the Postal Service no longer has the revenue to support the infrastructure it has. I think it’s a very useful and important part of our democratic government and I’ll support whatever has to be done for it to survive.

  • When did working people in DC become so angry at their customers.

    I worked out of Chicago last year for about a week and tough black kids working in fast food were like, “You gotta try this hot dog, forget the other guys, my man makes the best hot dog in the city!” I mean a 17 or 18 year old kid who took some freaking PRIDE in himself and what he was doing and a challenge to himself that he was going to provide me with better service than the next stand.

    (I don’t eat hot dogs but I bought a soda off the kid and he was cool with me the whole time)

    I see some of that at Ritas, but for the most part in DC working class people snubbed me first- and this counts TRIPLE for low-level government employees who almost universally don’t want me in their line.

    If the postal employees can’t keep their post office stocked with supplies and clean then screw them, let them lose their jobs, they don’t deserve them.

    Because I saw the 17 year old kid working the hot dog counter in downtown Chicago and that kid could run circles around them here.

    I wasn’t a malcontent until I lived in DC 10 years and realized that the long-term residents were never going to make themselves normal. Now I just want them to see a psychiatrist or move.

  • Sad to lose the Petworth station. I love the Petworth station because I can get in and out within 5 minutes all for the cost of a 25 cent parking meter. By contrast, I always have to stand on line at least 25 min at Georgia and Lamont.

    I also love the P.O. in Union Station. It opens ridiculously early, something like 6:30 am. Staff are friendly.

    I think the 17 year old city kids working in the Harris Teeter might impress you, Neener

  • I heard that post office generates a good amount of revenue, 2.6 billions or something like that. It’s their pension obligation that’s draining the resources.

    As for the Petworth P.O., I went there a couple of times and the lady behind the counter was always surly and with an attitude, as if she was doing us all a big favor for working there. I’m glad that it’s closing, hopefully it’ll prevent the raising of a stamp cost by another cent come next year.

  • i have no idea where the petworth post office is, but i LOVE my local p.o.: the one on 14th and T. hope they aren’t thinking of closing that!! the employees are always friendly and helpful, and the prices you have to pay at FedEx to get a letter somewhere overnight are outrageous. LOVE the USPS. it’s about the only bargain left these days. i’ve encountered some problem post offices around town–but they seem to have moved some of the crankiest of the help elsewhere. for a long time, the georgetown post office was attitude city–not all of the clerks, but some of them. and the one in union station…shudder. but even that’s improved lately.

  • The Petworth post office is almost so bad that I hop in the car and drive to a good one. almost. while pretty much the worst post office ever, i would be sad to see it go due to convenience.

  • I hate the Petworth post office with a passion. I echo everything, from the rude, surly woman who works there, to it never having any supplies, and it is so dirty and gross. It’s as useful as a mail box. Literally. I go out of my way and drive across the park where the service is much, much better in Cleveland Park.

    Did anyone ever see the “Colored Only” sign in the bullet proff glass that was just taken down a year or so ago. Totally ridiculous.

    Neener, I echo your sentiments on customer service in the area. Something strange has happened here. Where I come from, and even on vacation, the customer service makes me feel like I’ve won some kind of prize. Or had a crown stuck on my head.

  • From Petworth to Palisades – the Post Offices in the DC area suck. I think most of the staff and management realize their time is running out. Most folks under 50 are doing everything online and once the older Post Office users die off in a decade or two I’ll guess 90% of the store front style PO’s as we know them will be gone. ATM style postal vending systems will take care of the few needs that people have to mail items and that will be that. Good riddance I say.

  • Thanks Anonymous. I don’t get it either. It’s not like the kid I saw in Chicago owned the hot dog company or was getting a meaningful commission on sales or never dealt with the same kind of hassles that a blue collar African-American kid had. I agree, I walked on air for about 10 minutes after that interaction, thinking I was so cool. Same thing happens to me in more rural and midwestern areas.

    I remember this being a problem back at the Dart Drug in the 1980s, so it’s not even something brand new.

    Actually Bogfrog is correct- the Harris Teeter kids WERE really nice! Ditto with the Target employees for the first 2 months they were open- not so much now. Starbucks, I guess, also friendly. Trader Joes usually perfect. I wonder how they’re managed differently?

    CVS is what kills me I guess. Also had bad experiences at Giant.

  • “Most folks under 50 are doing everything online and once the older Post Office users die off in a decade or two I’ll guess 90% of the store front style PO’s as we know them will be gone. ATM style postal vending systems will take care of the few needs that people have to mail items and that will be that. Good riddance I say.”

    I’m well over 50 and in VA. The PO’s here are just as surly, dirty, and disgusting. Unless you need to send a check to someone that “can’t” bank on line, what is the purpose of usps? Email does it all and more, and doesn’t deliver 120 day old mail, torn up in a plastic bag with a generic and artificial apology. Also, no more excuses of “it’s in the mail”

    I’ve witnessed too many Postal workers parked in trucks for several hours, eating, drinking, talking on the phone etc, to believe any of them deserve the job, and the job is not necessary in light of the internet.

    Shut the system down and keep the brown. It’s all we need for packages that can’t be emailed – yet.

    I can’t begin to calculate the savings that could go into social security instead….since none of us non-postals will ever see the kind of retirement they get. Good riddance usps and all of your attitudes.

  • I cant wait for the day when the Postal Service goes away entirely. What bill or transaction can’t be done online? If not, they should be. Cards are pretty empty thoughts–unless you take the time to write them personally. I sure has hell can’t stand all the advertisements that cut down our trees needlessly and clog my mail box. The remaining deliveries can be handled by FedEx, UPS, and DHL–they’re more convenient anyway.

  • What’s sad is that I routinely shun DC post offices to use the one closer to my office, in the suburbs. The differences are clear. The suburban post office gets slow during certain times/seasons, don’t get me wrong. But it has generally cheerful employees, one of those postal scale things so I can weigh my own packages and avoid the line entirely, and none of that stupid plexiglass. I understand the need for the plexiglass, but it makes me feel like I’m being viewed as a potential criminal.

    I wouldn’t say that DC postal employees have been actively rude to me, though. I guess that’s something?

    There are a *lot* of people in our community, older and not so old, who aren’t comfortable doing all their transactions by computer, though. There are people who don’t have regular computer access. Heck, there are people who don’t even have bank accounts TO do banking online, if the number of check cashing places is any indication. They shouldn’t be forgotten.

    And UPS will not leave packages at my condo when I’m not home (there’s no protected place to do so) where USPS has a key to the building and can leave them inside the door. So FedEx/UPS/DHL are not perfect solutions.

  • someone in the west end post office stole a $200 gift card I ordered from JC Penney and used it at the Penney’s in Forestville, MD. cute.

  • For me the best post office in the city is the main one on North Capital underneath the Postal Museum. They have great hours being open until 9pm M-F and open Sat/Sun until 8pm – though the parking situation is a problem.

    As for using other services for things – that is a no go for me. Can’t get packages redirected to my office because I work for the government and and with UPS at least I can’t go there to pick up packages (their place is way the heck and gone with horrible, horrible hours). At least with the Post Office I can go after work as I pass on the way home. That is not to say I haven’t had problems and obviously some locations are a problem, but I just don’t get all the hating (with the exception of Neener who just seems to be miserable with his entire life).

  • List of things that still make postal delivery a necessity: Netflix, Gamefly, magazine subscriptions…

  • The internet and electronic communications have certainly changed the way we correspond with each other, and so, changed our relationship with the USPS. Where my parents see the post office as a necessity, I and I think most people in my age group, see it as optional.

    Does that mean the entire system should be scrapped? Of course not.

    But it does mean, that USPS is going to have to re-evaluate it’s role in society and adjust accordingly.

    But I think they know that.

  • Damn, I enjoyed having a PO box w/in biking distance at LeDroit Park. Unlike my house, checks don’t get stolen from the box.

  • Why the bile? Frustration at many years of having someone be unpleasant to you for no reason other than you’re in front of them. Having absolutely no hope that if you complain about the situation that it will ever be remedied.

    “A city with Southern efficiency and Northern hospitality”

  • the Petworth PO has terrible customer service. everytime I go there, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. its a feeling of getting crapped on

  • Unlike healthcare (which I regard as a human right), package and letter delivery services are perfect enterprises that are, and would exclusively be in the U.S. Postal System went under, best served by taxed private enterprise and competetive market forces. Aint’ no Pony Express no more…

  • So the Petworth post office is as bad as the one at Georgia and Lamont? I’ve never been to the one up north, but sad to hear it’s no better. I usually go down to the one on 14th south of U, and it’s alright. But yeah, a post office in DCUSA wouldn’t be a bad idea.

  • i’ve never been to the petworth post office, but i cant say i’d be sad about LeDroit. i’ve only had a few experiences there but they were not good. i mail things very often but i wont ever go back there.

    i’d echo the sentiments of Union Station. that post office is fanfuckingtastic. and Brentwood, are not only great dc post offices, but in the running for the best in the world. i love every single worker there. and they’re both totally mellow places.

    and union station is open on sundays.

  • Wow. I guess I need to reevaluate the Post Office. The Union Station one is my local office; where I have to go to pick up packages and things if I’m not home to take delivery. And, mostly, I completely hate it. No parking, long lines at seemingly every hour of the day, slow employees, etc. When it was open really late it was better (but not great), but now that it’s only open until 8, I had thought it was pretty bad. I guess maybe other places are worse?

  • i am not sad about the closing, the post office loses billions each year. they should also go to every other day delivery. daily made sense pre-internet, but no longer.

    what happens to the building????????????

  • i’m also curious what would happen to the land at the ledroit park post office.
    that island creates a really bizarre traffic pattern.

  • I’ll miss it. Historic building landmark and everyone from every class level in ledroit park used it. Sure, if I ever signed for a package it was at Lamont and a long walk from Rhode Island Metro (I liked cutting behind the giant there). Except for georgetown and frederick dou

    I guess inefficiencies in the system are better culled, than trying to improve a service to the community. Next they’ll cut out and demolish Frederick Douglas’ house cause nobody goes to Anacostia to visit it.

    I know the PO isn’t as important to american history as FD’s house, but I’m kinda sad that you would get rid of a service point, that was convenient for many in the community, rather than try to improve the service and improve the consequent profits gained by improving that service. But such seems the philosophy of many who want urban renewal over community development.

  • They should increase the rate for junk mail, we’re all subsidizing it.

  • You guys should know two things:

    1) USPS is self funded, the more mail that is sent, the better the services. No appropriations are used on the post office

    2) the USPS, or some form of it, is required by the Constitution. FedEx is not.

  • alex @ 10:36 – what are you talking about? no one in this community has the slightest bit of say about how the postal service operates or whether it is profitable. how would we “try to improve the service” at the ledroit park office? it is a huge, highly centralized, unionized bureacracy. this has absolutely nothign to do with “urban renewal” OR “community development” or greedy developers or gentrification. It has to do with an unprofitable quasi-public corporation that is hemmoraghing money because it’s business model has been upended by the internet and competition.


  • sweet location for a new development for sure!

  • Eric, actually USPS is profitable. It’s their pension system that’s killing them.

  • The weird thing is that they just opened a *new* post office on Kennedy St. (can’t remember where–maybe 7th or 8th st?) in Brightwood Park. I got a postcard about it a few weeks ago for their grand opening.

    I haven’t needed to go to the post office since it opened, and it’s now the closest, but before that, I’d drive up to the Brightwood one on Georgia Ave., where it’s clean, bright, and friendly.

  • Postal service isn’t bad until the US House of Representatives starts holding committee hearings to find out what is going on. As it has done in Chicago. The entire city of Chicago lives with the risk that their mail will be held hostage or simply go missing. It has been that way for years, even after they built a $332 million new facility.


    In comparison DC’s postal services are fantastic. But I am surprised and disappointed to see that in selecting 677 locations out of the thousands all of the country, they picked two that are so close to one another. Surely they could distribute the closures a bit more fairly?

    I think there will come a time when USPS is nothing but a regulatory body, establishing zip codes and addresses, and leaving mail delivery to reliable private carriers (and email).

  • I’ve been to both the CH and PW POs and I now choose to travel up to the Brightwood post office. The people who work at BW PO are friendly, helpful and it’s worth getting into my car to go there. The BW PO is also bright and clean and there is no one ever there – atleast when I go.

  • I don’t get what all the complaints about the staff have to do with this post.

    The closures have nothing to do with a particular employee or their friendliness. And if you don’t go to a particular location, regardless of the reason, it shouldn’t make any difference to you that it is closing, so why bother posting?

  • 4:27- POP ASKED us what we thought. Why bother posting? We were responding to a question!

    Also, I prefer to ship packages via USPS than UPS. I used to sell on ebay and could ship packages starting at $0.79. Try that with UPS.

  • They are only considering the closings right now. It’s not a final list.

    I think USPS was also considering 5 day a week delivery but there are a lot of people who still want mail on Saturdays. Even NPR had a story about wanting to cancel an air drop postal route in Montana/Idaho.

    FWIW, I prefer the post office inside the Postal Museum because when you go later at night there’s always free parking and they are pretty swift about stuff. (Like making sure I had the cancellation mark that day for the mail so I could get my parking ticket adjudicated properly. I am a procrastinator and if they canceled it the next day, I would have be hosed.)

    BTW if you really hate the service at your local post office. Call the Postmaster there. They want to know when the service is bad.

    And another thing, the USPS doesn’t get direct federal funding, so I’m not sure what the argument is for cost savings being directed towards other social programs. That’s a myth now. (There is a thing called ‘implicit subsidy’ but I think that’s b/c they are the primary means of delivering federal mail.)

  • anonymous Says:
    August 3rd, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    I don’t get what all the complaints about the staff have to do with this post.
    you and the post office share that cluelessness in the relationship of customer service and the popularity of a post office.
    while i still prefer usps to a private carrier, USPS hasnt moved on the fact that we have so many choices now. they need to up their game. congress need to ensure they stay open sure, but they need to keep pace. they bought delivery trucks when delivery trucks came out. they need to modernize again. i’ve never seen a PO with a computer terminal i could use. how about that? how about offering services to safely and securely package materials, not just sell the supplies. how about delivery people that can process orders from their trucks? how about the LeDroit Office NOT being closed at lunch time. their hours are ludicrous. how many house wives are there these days? MOST people work during the day. so a neighborhood PO needs to accommodate that.
    I bet if LeDroit was open on Saturday and Sunday, it would make more money then by just being open weekdays.

    that building is awfully cute, but all that land and their are .. what, like 5 people that work there.

    PO’s should couple with public libraries. there should be more combined services. one stop government service functions, or at least, fewer stops.

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