Residents have already begun fighting to keep their neighborhood post offices open just three days after the U.S. Postal Service issued a list of potential closures that included two branches in Fremont and two in Hayward.
A sign taped to the door of the post office in Fremont's Mission San Jose district Monday urged customers to ask Rep. Pete Stark, D-Fremont, to save the branch.
"The whole morning people keep asking us if we're going to close," said Sannie Huie, who works in the post office first established in 1850.
The postal service is considering closing nearly 700 offices to help shore up a projected $7 billion deficit. The list includes four in southern Alameda County: The Bradford branch in downtown Hayward; the Mt. Eden Branch off Hesperian Boulevard in southwestern Hayward; and the branches in Fremont's Niles and Mission San Jose districts. Also proposed for closure are several branches in Oakland, Berkeley, Richmond and San Jose.
Their future should be determined by October, postal service spokesman Gus Ruiz said. He didn't know how many post offices would actually be closed.
The branches being studied for closure are generally in metropolitan areas with other post offices nearby, Ruiz said. Closures would allow the postal service to consolidate operations while paying less for rent and utilities.
The Bradford branch's central location in Hayward makes it especially valuable, said Mary Beck, whose family roofing business has rented abox there for 52 years. "The location is pretty perfect, right in the middle of downtown," she said.
If both Hayward post offices on the list were to close, the city would be left with the main branch at 24438 Santa Clara St. and one at 249 W. Jackson St. — both of which are at least 11/2 miles from the at-risk offices.
Fremont would be left with three post offices, one each in its Centerville, Irvington and Warm Springs districts.
In a city that spans 92 square miles, that would be a major inconvenience, patrons in Niles and Mission San Jose said Monday.
Douglas Tinney, who lives closest to the Irvington post office, said he still chooses to go to the Mission San Jose branch because it has better parking and a more friendly atmosphere.
"Irvington's has a postage stamp-sized parking lot," he said. "It's hard to get in and out of there. Now if you add traffic from people using Mission San Jose, it just exacerbates an already bad situation."
The postal service has seen volume drop from 212 billion pieces of mail in 2006 to about 180 billion this year, as the recession and the growing popularity of online bill paying eats away at revenue, Ruiz said.
The service is still considering a plan to deliver mail only five days a week, which could save $3 billion.
"There are a number things that have been put on the table," Ruiz said. "We have to find ways to cut costs."
Staff writer Eric Kurhi contributed to this report. Reach Matthew Artz at 510-353-7002. Read his blog at www.ibabuzz.com/tricitybeat.