WALTHAM – At 79 years old, Carol Watts has lived in Waltham for roughly half of her life. The retired teacher lives alone with her dog, Eva, but keeps busy otherwise. Watts said she ran into mobility issues over the past few years.
“I can walk but now I am having a hard time walking without a cane and if I am going any distance, without a walker,” said Watts.
For the past five years, Watts said she has been in a constant battle over USPS drop-boxes in Waltham. Specifically, the lack of accessible ones for those with mobility challenges.
Watts pointed out that she had tried having her mail picked up at home but ran into issues with mail being misplaced. She prefers to drop it off herself.
There are dozens of USPS drop-boxes around Waltham including in front of the post office on Main Street.
However, Watts says none of them are able to be driven up too. Drop-boxes on Main Street and in surrounding neighborhoods were close to the road but faced inward towards the sidewalk, making them impossible to access from the road.
The USPS told WBZ-TV those drop-boxes are facing the sidewalk to keep pedestrians safe from passing cars as they insert their mail.
The USPS said they removed the last drive-up drop-box last summer after multiple cars ran into it. That design was considered a “snorkel box” which featured an extended opening to make it easier to insert mail from a car. The agency said there were no plans to replace it.
“We are a city of 65,000 residents, two universities, and 60,000 people who come here to work every single day in our businesses,” said Waltham City Councilor Paul Katz. “So, there is no reason that the post office cannot provide this basic service to the mobility challenged. It is really a slap in the face to the city of Waltham.”
Katz is one of two city councilors to introduce a resolution that would call on the local USPS postmaster to appear before the council to answer questions about the lack of accessible drop-boxes.