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Safety issue divides town, post office

Griswold - Selectmen and the U.S. Postal Service have started a debate about whose safety is more important: the person walking to the mailbox or the carrier delivering the mail.

Both say it is important to keep both parties equally safe, but then they reconsider and begin to argue for their respective sides.

In June, Selectman Steve Mikutel asked the board to send Jewett City Postmaster Scott McCall a letter asking him to reconsider his decision not to deliver mail to boxes on Culver Road if the boxes were moved to the end of the driveways of the three houses on the road. Mikutel said one of the residents had complained to him about the decision and has appealed it to the postal service's state office.

"I'm trying to resolve this issue. I know the postmaster feels it is unsafe for his carrier to deliver mail to Culver Road, but we feel it's more dangerous to ask residents to go out onto (Route) 201 to get their mail," Mikutel said in a voicemail on Thursday.

Currently, the postal carrier travels north on Route 201 from Route 138. All the mailboxes on Route 201 are on the right side of the road. For the postal carrier to deliver to Culver Road - a short cul-de-sac - he or she would have to take a left to cross Route 201 and then another left to exit Culver Road back onto the state road to continue his or her route.

In a June 29 letter to selectmen, McCall wrote that although the posted speed limit on Route 201 is 30 miles per hour, people regularly exceed that limit. The speed issue is compounded by the difficult line of sight - there is a hillcrest that can "cut down on visibility and reaction time" when looking left from Culver Road to Route 201.

McCall said in reaction to the resident's complaint and selectmen's request, he asked a representative from the postal service's safety office in Hartford to evaluate the route and the postmaster's decision.

"After analyzing the situation, their recommendation was to continue to serve the Culver Road delivery points at the location recommended," McCall wrote. In other words: Keep it the way it is.

"I would be derelict in my responsibilities to my employees to create a delivery that adds unnecessary danger to their route," McCall continued.

However, if patterns change and the delivery route is switched so that the carrier travels south along Route 201 and can take a right onto and out of Culver Road, McCall will "gladly let the Culver Road residents know that they can … have delivery down that road."

Mikutel, who is also the town's state representative, doesn't want to wait that long. He said he will ask the state Department of Transportation to ascertain whether the hillcrest that McCall mentions creates a hazardous situation or if traffic along Route 201 creates an unsafe condition for postal delivery personnel.


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