By David Knopf, News Editor
Rural Americans are a resourceful bunch, so they decorate the landscape with mailboxes that express their individuality.
And there’s nothing wrong with it, the U.S. Postal Service says, as long as imagination and beauty don’t keep carriers – especially the motor variety – from completing their appointed rounds.
According to USPS publication DMM 508, post-mounted boxes “should be mounted in a manner that the carrier can deliver the mail from his vehicle safely, from the right side of the road.” Mailboxes should be mounted between six and eight inches back from “the face of the curb to the front of the mailbox door” and be mounted “41 inches to 45 inches from the bottom of the mailbox to the inside floor.”
The Postal Service does note in its regulations that if carriers are impeded in doing their jobs, “the postmaster may withdraw delivery service.”
But apparently, mail carriers are far more worried about unrestrained dogs and pest-attracting flowering vines that wrap around mailboxes.
“That is a hazard,” said Wellington Postmaster Carolyn Eastridge, who was helping out at Orrick’s post office this week. “Usually, they (winged pests) like the sweet flowers and they’ll be a lot of bees and wasps around them.”
Eastridge said she can’t recall a carrier complaining about a mailbox, other than ones that lock and lack an opening big enough to deliver packages.
Dogs are another story, however. She’s heard stories, she said, of unrestrained pets jumping into a carrier’s vehicle.
Residents who’d like to express themselves with unique mailbox designs are welcome to, as long as they follow simple Postal Service requirements.
The Post Office actually finds some of the unusual mailbox designs interesting enough to have created an internal Web page to display them for employees, Eastridge said.