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MIT Post Office on chopping block again

The MIT Post Office’s future once again looks grim, especially in the context of the U.S. Postal Service’s continuing fiscal problems.

Yesterday, post office box holders received a letter from Cambridge Postmaster Katherine Lydon announcing a “discontinuance feasibility study” for the MIT post office, which is in the basement of the student center at 84 Mass. Ave. See related content at http://tech.mit.edu/V131/N52/postal/ for the letter.

Lydon announced that a community meeting about the post office situation will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 22, at 6 p.m. at the Cambridge Public Library at 449 Broadway. The meeting will “explain the study findings” and “address community concerns,” Lydon said.

The USPS released a list of post offices being considered for closure in July, and the MIT branch was on it. This is the first concrete step in the process. In addition to the letter to PO box holders, a notice announcing the meeting was also posted in the lobby of the post office.

This is the second time that the MIT branch has been seriously considered for closure. In 2009, it dodged the bullet. MIT students organized a letter-writing campaign directed at Congressman Michael Capuano, D-Cambridge, and also convinced MIT to write to the Postal Service.

In a November 2009 letter to Congressman Barney Frank, D-Newton, District Manager Charles Lynch of the Postal Service explained that six post offices considered for closure would remain open; six post offices for which written proposals had been submitted by their communities (including MIT) to keep them open. Some communities failed to submit a proposal, including that at Boston University, he said. Those branches were subsequently closed.

—John A. Hawkinson