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Rep. Meng calls out head of USPS for saying no to a ramp at Jackson Heights post office 

The Jackson Heights post office on 37th Avenue is not currently accessible for some local residents. Photo courtesy of Rep. Grace Meng’s office

March 5, 2013 By Iryna Shkurhan 

Rep. Grace Meng called out the head of the United States Postal Service for rejecting her pleas to install a ramp at the Jackson Heights post office, and refusing to pick up the phone. 

Following redistricting last year, Jackson Heights became part of Meng’s district which encompasses neighborhoods such as Forest Hills and Bayside. In February 2023, she penned a letter to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy urging him to install a ramp leading to the front entrance to make the building accessible to all residents. 

For the USPS to fulfill its mission to serve everyone, it must ensure its facilities are fully accessible to the public,” wrote Meng in her initial letter to DeJoy last year. “That is why we respectfully encourage you to install a ramp at the main entrance of the Jackson Heights Post Office.”

Construction of the historic post office on 37th Avenue was completed in 1937, before laws requiring accessibility were put in place. Today, the four front steps that lead to the entrance hinder safe access for seniors, people with a disability and those pushing strollers. 

In his rejection of the request, the Postmaster General said that since the building predates the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968, which requires federal facilities to be accessible for people with disabilities, a ramp is not required. But Meng argues that even if the building is in compliance with the law as is, installing the ramp is the right thing to do.

Meng called his decision to not install a ramp “misguided” and continued to push him to change his mind earlier this month by requesting a phone call. She grew frustrated when he refused to speak with her, and was told by his office to speak to a government liaison instead. 

“I know that the Postmaster General is a busy guy and that there are thousands of employees serving under him,” said Congresswoman Meng. “But I am shocked and dismayed that he won’t pick up the phone for a quick call with a Member of Congress, especially since it is Congress that has oversight of his agency. I am stunned by such arrogance.” 

Several elected officials in the area, from the city to state level, sided with Congresswoman Meng and called for the installation of a ramp.

“Postmaster General DeJoy’s lack of accessibility to Congresswoman Meng is emblematic of his lack of concern about the accessibility issues that plague those seeking to use the Jackson Heights Post Office,” said Borough President Donovan Richards. “I thank Congresswoman Meng for holding the Postmaster General’s feet to the fire on this issue, and urge him to return her phone call.”

State Assembly Member Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas and Assembly Member Steven Raga, who both represent parts of Jackson Heights, also said that the ramp, which their constituents have been requesting for years, is a priority. 

“The residents of Jackson Heights have spoken and their needs are still being neglected,” said González-Rojas. “Installing a ramp at the entrance of the Jackson Heights Post Office is an equity issue. Ensuring all New Yorkers have access to essential buildings is our job.”

Raga added, It is disheartening that conversations with the highest levels of the Postal Service are being evaded, especially on such a crucial matter that directly affects our community’s inclusivity and accessibility.”

The nearest accessible post office with a ramp is located 0.6 miles away on Broadway in Elmhurst. And another USPS location, in a strip mall on 31st Avenue in East Elmhurst, is 0.8 miles away. 

“Accessibility is a right,” said Council Member Shekar Krishnan, who represents Jackson Heights. “The U.S. Postal Service and the Postmaster General have long fallen short of their obligation to provide access to all members of our community at our Post Office in Jackson Heights. As Representative Meng and I have made clear: we need a ramp now.”

Congresswoman Meng continues to call on the Postmaster General to reconsider, and agree to speak to her directly over the phone. 

“He should find some time for a phone call, and more importantly, he needs to get this ramp built,” added Meng. “Nobody should be denied or have great difficulty in accessing their local post office, and receiving the postal services they need and deserve.”

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