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Study hints more post offices should close

By MIKE CORN

mcorn@dailynews.net

A new study presented Monday to the U.S. Postal Regulatory Commission, which has ultimate authority over the U.S. Postal Service, provided the proverbial good news-bad news scenario.

The study is a 14-page document that evaluates the USPS proposal to close nearly 3,700 mostly small and rural post offices.

Because of time constraints, the study covered only Kansas and only looks at the effect of post office closings through the use of Geographic Information System software.

"There are 67 locations that are proposed for closure -- exactly half of the 134 proposed closures -- that were identified by the location allocation analysis as sites that should remain open," the study, filed Monday, states.

Only six of the northwest Kansas post offices already on the closing list should remain open, the study suggests.

But, it went on to say the "recommended list of closures in Kansas is less than optimal ... "

That could mean an additional 33 closures, according to the report, as many as 21 of them in northwest Kansas.

Only 480 offices would be needed, the study said, based only on distance to post offices. Currently, there are 647 offices.

Waters did not respond to an email seeking a list of offices the software suggested should remain open and the additional offices that should be closed.

"We were able to determine how the distance to a post office would be increased and how the area served would also be increased by post office closures," author Nigel Waters said in his report. He is a professor in the department of geography and geoinformation science at George Mason University, near Washington.

He went on to say the GIS software "could provide a better solution that had less of an impact on the population and allowed for more closures than those proposed by the post office. These solutions were better in terms of the service provided to the residents of Kansas."