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Hyde Park, Woodlawn, South Shore

Bronzeville Post Office Improving, Alderman Says, But Struggles Remain

Ald. Sophia King (4th) said she will raise the neighborhood's mail issues with Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) Monday, as they likely stem from the United States Postal Service's lack of resources.

The Bronzeville Post Office
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BRONZEVILLE — Some residents are still having issues with service at the Henry McGee Post Office despite improvements in recent months.

Ald. Sophia King (4th) said she will raise the issue in a meeting with Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) Monday as the United States Postal Service attempts to improve customer service and mail delivery in her South Side ward.

The post office, 4601 S. Cottage Grove Ave., serves areas in Bronzeville, Kenwood and Hyde Park. Residents have complained for more than a year about rude customer service agents, long lines and missing packages.

Hyde Park resident Emily Barr said she and her neighbors deal with an “irregular, erratic pattern” of mail delivery.

Days will often go by without deliveries, Barr said, followed by a day where she’ll receive “piles of mail.” Even when she does get her mail, it can come as late as 10 p.m.

The solution is to hire more carriers, Barr said.

“You’ll see these guys walking around with headlamps on,” she said. “Their lights are bobbing down the street late at night. It can’t be safe for them.”

Barr has transitioned to paying most bills online due to the delivery struggles, and she understands people don’t send snail mail as much. But “you can’t avoid” the need for the post office occasionally, she said.

USPS officials attributed service issues to four or five carrier vacancies and the summer being “peak vacation time” at a community meeting last July.

Any current issues are not due to carrier vacancies, according to USPS spokesperson Timothy Norman. Unscheduled absences are filled by “fully trained employees,” he said.

To meet demand, more than 180 new carriers are being onboarded and will work in various locations across the city, Norman said.

Competition from private delivery companies and decreased demand have left the USPS “struggling financially,” though that’s “not an excuse” for low-quality services, King said.

King said her office intends to hold another meeting, to uphold a promise made last summer. Far fewer residents attended last July’s meeting as compared to previous ones, which she said was a sign of improvement.

“Any massive bureaucracy, you’re going to have complaints,” she said. “What we were experiencing in the beginning was just way too many complaints.”

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