Address Mess

By Burt Ray Simpson

_First, a bit of background for those who do not know me. I have worked in newspaper delivery for the last dozen years and in doing so I have encountered numerous poorly implemented addressing conditions. Concluding that many of these should have been easily avoidable, I have developed a comprehensive addressing legislation proposal to rectify the existing problematic conditions and to mitigate the creation of additional difficult ones.

I have identified several questionable addressing issues in my town and several others, which have been virtually unanimously ignored. The result, admittedly, is that I have undoubtedly irked those in my town and elsewhere, but they or others before those currently in office allowed these things to occur and those currently there are refusing to take any corrective actions on even a few of them.

While up early working in newspaper delivery one morning in the last week or so, it occurred to me that it was getting to be the time of year that the holiday decorations start going up and that there are always at least a few that put these up such that they obstruct the view of their address numbers and/or unit designations. Early one morning I left a message with the Borough Clerk of my town before he got into work suggesting that we put a message on the programmable electronic sign in the center of town suggesting that the citizens do not obstruct the view of their address numbers with decorations, however festive they may be. I received no response.

Today I drove through the center of town and saw that both an older style sign at the borough hall and the new electronic one were blank, so I figured it was the perfect time for them to display my message. I do not know why the older one was blank, but as it turns out the new electronic one was broken and is to be repaired imminently.

In discussing this with the Borough Clerk, he acknowledged receiving my message, but indicated that it was not going to be posted. Upon asking him why, he explained that he "didn't think it was important enough." Realizing that my discussions on this had all been verbal over the phone, I sought documentation of his position. I asked if I sent him a letter if he would respond in writing and he said only if he "chose to do so." Of course, if I were to submit a complaint, I am sure he is the one with whom I would file it.

Some may think, perhaps, that I have taken addressing a bit too seriously, but this was a simple altruistic suggestion graciously offered for the benefit of all that should not have been rejected. This is, however, what those of us concerned with address implementation, posting, delineation and dissemination of information depicting it are up against.

Specifically for us up overnight delivering newspapers, after the carriers put out their holiday, Christmas, cards seeking tips is a popular time for them to quit. This results in a fair number of new carriers struggling to learn their routes under unnecessarily adverse conditions at the most difficult time of year when there is the least daylight, colder temperatures in some parts of the country and the first snowfalls in some areas. Much more importantly, it should be obvious that this could hinder emergency response efforts and generally make it more difficult for the general public to find their chosen destination and, especially at this time of year, package delivery companies to deliver gifts.

Some members of URISA, and others who may [read] this, may have more influence than I do on what is put on the town signs or otherwise expressed to the citizenry where they live, work, or consult. I know a URISA Digest just went out, but lets remind folks to be careful of this now and each year at this time.

At this holiday time, it is my sincere wish that you all should only have to be found for happy things, and if you are to be so blessed those looking for you should easily find you.

Published Friday, December 8th, 2006

Written by Burt Ray Simpson

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