Postage Stamp Crisis (the third lick: existing community mailboxes)

Since the “controversy” over community mailboxes heated up, I’ve kept an eye open for what they look like.

I don’t find this old one on Somerset Street offensive:


Nor this one on King Edward:


When in Boston a few weeks ago, I spotted this one in a typical centre town residential street, and then retraced my steps to discover that there had been a number of similar boxes in the preceding blocks that I hadn’t even noticed:


Here’s some at the courtyard entrance to low rise apartments dating from mid-20th century:


And from early 21st century urban townhouse infills:



And here, between two businesses on a typical traditional main street, this time in a heritage area of Provincetown MA:



I must say i do prefer the USM single post pedestal to the “filled in” plinth on the Canada Post one shown on King Edward Avenue.

It is a myth that somehow only Canadians are being stuck with community mailboxes and that in other civilized countries they get door to door delivery 8 days a week. The photos above are residential and commercial, new and old neighbourhoods.

While we are in the USA, here is a community mailbox in a new urbanist town, set in the town common, conveniently co-located by the allotment gardens, adjacent the play ground, adjacent the community swimming pool. It was a several-block walk to get to the mailbox from other houses in the area. City of Ottawa park  planning staff reacted in horror when I asked if mailboxes were allowed in or beside parks. Such efforts at getting people to mingle and know their neighbours would be forbidden in the great white north:


And here is another collection of mailboxes, in the centre of a park, serving a large new urbanist mixed income project:


So just how well are the Canada Post boxes going to fit into west side Ottawa?

I headed a bit further west, around the Kirkwood and Churchill areas, where sources told me a number of the boxes have already been installed. Here is what I found:


The front and side view above; the side and rear view below: (note the concrete pad and finishing cobble strip):



I was plesantly surprised to find some of the boxes faced sidewalks (their backs to the road):



… or facing sidewalks, with their backs to the houses:


Their location suggests officialdom expects people to actually walk to their mailboxes, rather than doing drive-by pickups.

Here’s a set in front of a park, which seems rather convenient and safe to me, but I suppose our park planners might still object:




While the Kirkwood / Churchill area is 1940’s suburban on large-ish green lots, there are also tighter, more urban sites to be found. Here are some mailboxes by infill townhouses, complete with their own LED lighting fixtures:



And for those proverbial little old ladies who will be so disadvantaged by losing their mail delivery to the door, some of that might be offset by the inclusion of an out-going mail slot on every group mailbox, which is likely closer to home than the current big boxes at major intersections.



Note too that every mailbox locks, with a key. I’ve never known anything to have been stolen from my mailbox, but  I often hear people express fear of theft (maybe they get more valuable mailers than I do) and when delivering flyers (not junk stuff – important community planning notices only !) I only rarely come across house mailboxes that have a lock.

Some of the pictures above might be of neighbourhood conditions similar to where you live. They included high density 1920’s downtown houses, courtyard apartments,  infills, inner suburbs, etc.  Only when Canada Post actually installs a bunch on my (or your) street will we actually know what the nearest box will be like. But I haven’t seen much to worry me (yet) and the real world examples are rather underwhelming given all the hype about the horrors being inflicted on us.

Actually, I’d like to see the addition of some sort of dispensing rack for all those damn weekly flyers and the bird-cage liner weekly paper. I’d swear the bundles I got friday were a veritable forest of pulp dumped on my porch.

In the meantime, I’ll struggle with the math: if each group box has 15 individual mailboxes, and there are 45 townhouses across the road from me, and 24 houses on my block … how many of these pedestal thingys will be put on my street?



One thought on “Postage Stamp Crisis (the third lick: existing community mailboxes)

  1. I think you should opt out of the bundled flyers if you don’t want them. It’s pretty easy to do. Call or email the company responsible and they will get on to their distributor. (In my case I emailed ottawa west news with immediate results.)

    You can also call Canada post to stop home or CMB delivery of unaddressed ad mail (like pizza and real estate flyers).

    I did both and it works for me, although someone, who may need the earnings, now has one less customer.

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