The 'Inconvenient' Mail

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Mia Hall of Southern Maryland complains that her new five-bedroom dream house is lacking only one thing to make it perfect -- a mailbox ["You've Got Mail . . . a Block Away; New Homeowners Decry Cluster Boxes," front page, June 17].

In Columbia, we have had cluster boxes since the founding of this community. When I moved here in 1992, I thought they were a smart solution. Cluster boxes are a great place to catch up with neighbors, and the security of a lock just makes sense these days. Yes, I have to walk a bit to get my mail, but with the rise of obesity among Americans (I am as guilty as anyone), certainly it makes sense to walk at least a block once a day.

Also, postal workers who otherwise would travel from house to house and no doubt leave their vehicles idling now use less gasoline.

To Ms. Hall and others living in sprawling new exurban subdivisions, I say: Get a little exercise while doing your bit for the environment.

KATHLEEN PACKARD

Columbia

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Residents have to walk a bit to get to their mailboxes. A lawyer complains that this is "discrimination." A homeowner doesn't think that "those cluster boxes are pleasing to the eye." Here's my suggestion to those involved:

Tell the builders of your half-million-dollar-plus homes that you want an attractive row of mailboxes at the end of your road. If they won't do it, chip in and put nice ones in yourself. What a great way to meet and commune with your new neighbors. You could walk each day down the road to attractive brick mailboxes with trellises of growing flowers over them and socialize with your neighbors. You could get exercise, make friends, walk the dog along with the kids in their strollers -- and feel grateful to live in a country where, for 41 cents, your mail is picked up and taken anywhere else in the country within two days. Just a thought.

ANN NICHOLS

Vienna


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