Actor Joel McHale asks why the post office has stopped some Vashon Island deliveries

Aug 28, 2022, 8:41 AM
(Photo by Katie Falkenberg/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)...
(Photo by Katie Falkenberg/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
(Photo by Katie Falkenberg/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Some residents of Vashon Island have been recently notified by the Postal Service that home deliveries to their residences will be stopped due to safety complaints from postal workers.

With some of the island’s homes on extremely narrow roadways, with limited ability for truck drivers to turn around, postal drivers say the area is too dangerous.

Residents currently have two options to get their mail: install, at their own expense, “cluster-box units” to serve their entire street, or to visit the local post office and wait in line to receive their mail.

A representative from the post office said that a driver who had not normally driven the routes on Vashon, brought in to relieve the staffing shortage that the local post office is facing, was the one who had made the complaint to the USPS Safety Office and the postal workers union.

A Hollywood star has taken interest in the mail delivery of the small island’s postal service, delivering mail to about 10,000 residents, Joel McHale, who went on the John and Shari Show to discuss the issue.

As an actor, McHale, a University of Washington graduate, and Mercer Island native, has served as a guide to pop culture as the host of E!’s “The Soup;” a sitcom star, most notably on NBC’s “Community;” and a standup comic.

“So my mother-in-law, she lives on Vashon Island,” McHale said. “And as you just said [John,] the wonderful postal service delivered for 60 years, and then someone I don’t know, said there was a safety issue. They’ve been driving down for 60 years. Garbage trucks drive down to this day, and it’s perfectly fine.”

John Curley asked McHale what the solution to the issue could be.

“Okay, Joel, why can’t you call the post office and say, ‘what’s the problem?’ Train the one person, and just because all of a sudden one driver has caused all of these problems for everybody. We should also say a lot of the people who live on that road are elderly, the idea of them getting out of the house and walking out in the rain or the snow to go get the mail is probably more dangerous for them than it would be for some driver who was driving down that road for all those years.”

McHale recognizes that the issue is a relatively minor one, but with it affecting so many residents, especially those that are elderly or have mobility issues, the problem needs to be addressed by the postal service.

“[The postal service] has been contacted by a number of neighbors and there has been no response,” McHale said. “Bruce, who is my mother-in-law’s neighbor, has tried a number of times, my lovely brother-in-law Richard has tried. And again, I know there’s not the biggest issue in the world, but it seems very strange.”

They are working to find alternative solutions for residents, though.

“The Postal Service appreciates its customers and always strives to provide the best possible service to them,” Lecia Hall, a USPS communications specialist said in an email to the Vashon Beachcomber. ”However, the safety and well-being of our employees are of the utmost importance and the one-lane, cliff-hugging road on Point Vashon Drive SW is simply too dangerous for postal employees to navigate. We are working with the local community to identify a centralized, safe location and we are in the early stage of the process.




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John Curley and Shari Elliker

John Curley and Shari Elliker

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Actor Joel McHale asks why the post office has stopped some Vashon Island deliveries