Mail deliveries lagging in parts of Phila. region

Posted: February 23, 2014

PHILADELPHIA "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds." Except in parts of winter-weary Philadelphia, it appears.

More than a week after the latest in this winter's parade of storms dumped a messy mix of snow and ice on the city, some Philadelphians say their mail hasn't arrived for days.

"You come to depend on the mail, so it's very frustrating," said Ellen Frankel, 62, of East Mount Airy. Frankel, who lives in a condominium development, said she had not received her mail since Feb. 15.

Ray Daiutolo Sr., a regional spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service, said he had heard scattered reports from Philadelphia and South Jersey residents who have been without mail for more than a week.

He said he did not have hard numbers on how many in the region had been affected but said the situation was "getting better by the day."

"In some cases, our carriers still haven't been able to access customers' mailboxes or their streets," Daiutolo said Friday. "This is something that we're experiencing all across the country."

When postal workers encounter snowed-in streets or mailboxes, Daiutolo said, they are trained to leave and try again the next day.

That didn't assuage Frankel, who said her street and mailbox were easily accessible.

"Our boxes are completely within reach," she said. "I don't see how that could be the problem."

Frankel even called her congressman, Chaka Fattah (D., Pa.), on Friday morning to find out more about what's been going on with her mail.

Fattah's office estimated that it had received calls from as many as 25 constituents - including block captains speaking on behalf of neighborhoods - who complained of not receiving mail in recent days. Fattah's district stretches from South Philadelphia to West Oak Lane, Germantown, and Roxborough, plus parts of West Philadelphia and Montgomery County.

"Congressman Fattah's office has been in constant contact with the postmaster in Philadelphia," the office said in a statement Friday. "They have assured us they are working to get this resolved as soon as possible, and ensure timely mail delivery for all residents across the district."

Daiutolo said the Postal Service did not have a firm timeline for when all homes in the region would return to regular mail schedules. He encouraged residents to call their local distribution centers if problems continued.

215-854-2619 @szweifler

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