Tenderloin residents up in arms over neighborhood post office

The letters on the facade of the U.S. Post Office at 101 Hyde St. are faded and weary. A single employee helps a streaming line of patrons with general delivery queries. The stamp-dispensing machine in the lobby bears a note that says its services are out of order.

Located in the Tenderloin, the facility’s open doors, lack of security figures and dearth of full-time employees make it a sheltered haven for criminal activity, said Elaine Zamora, a neighborhood resident and member of the advocacy group The New Tenderloin.

“We need something positive in this community,” Zamora said. “A real branch post office can give this neighborhood an identity — something we can be proud of.”

Zamora and other advocates have lobbied The City to pressure the USPS into expanding their facilities. On Thursday, they went before the Board of Supervisor’s City Operations and Neighborhood Services committee to make their case. Supervisor Chris Daly, who represents the Tenderloin, requested the hearing.

“The post office runs this facility like it’s an inner-city fortress,” Daly told The Examiner on Friday. “I’m surprised there aren’t bars on the windows.”

Gary Jimenez, captain of the San Francisco Police Department’s Tenderloin Station, said the post office situation was concerning.

“Other than a staffer at general delivery and a few boxes, it’s pretty much an abandoned property,” he said. “We’re constantly chasing drug dealers out of the place.”

Tenderloin residents are also upset with the center’s relatively short operating hours — 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on weekdays, 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday — and its lack of retail services, said Michael Nulty, executive director of Alliance for a Better District 6.

USPS spokesman James Wigdell, who attended Thursday’s hearing, told The Examiner that the organization is investigating the community’s complaints, but at present, there “is nothing on the table” regarding expansion of the location’s services.

Postal patrons have other options in the area, but the nearby U.S. Federal Building is laden with lengthy security checks, and locations at the Macy’s basement and Fox Plaza have the same operating times, making it difficult to take advantage of their services, Nulty said.

wreisman@examiner.com  

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