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Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS)





Original Author: Hemsley, Sid
Co-author: Downham, Chuck
Date of Material: 08/22/2022

Subjects(s):
Construction--Laws and regulations
Construction--Laws and regulations--Tennessee
Planning--Tennessee
Right of way

Regulation of Mailboxes in Rights-of-Way

Reviewed Date: 08/22/2022
Summary:
Since the preparation of the memorandum by Sid Hemsley, MTAS Senior Law Consultant in July 2003 (see attachment below), the United States Postal Service (USPS) has prepared and published design standards and guides for the construction and installation of mailboxes that include free-standing mailboxes, wall-mounted mailboxes, and centralized mailboxes.


Supplemental Narrative for Sid Hemsley Memorandum dated July 18, 2003

Since the preparation of the memorandum by Sid Hemsley, MTAS Senior Law Consultant in July 2003, the United States Postal Service (USPS) has prepared and published design standards and guides for the construction and installation of mailboxes that include free-standing mailboxes, wall-mounted mailboxes, and centralized mailboxes. In 2004, the USPS published the “U.S. Postal Service Standard Wall-Mounted Centralized Mail Receptables” covering the design, testing, and acceptance of wall-mounted, centralized mail receptacles. In 2015, the USPS published the “U.S. Postal Service Standard Mailbox, Curbside” that superseded a 2001 standard to cover all curbside mailboxes defined as any design made to be served by a carrier from a vehicle on any city, rural or highway contract route and is not applicable to mailboxes intended for door delivery service.  

In 2020, the USPS published the “National Delivery Planning Standards – A Guide for Builders and Developers” superseding a guide published by the USPS in 2017 for centralized mailboxes outlining the requirements for centralized delivery that is the preferred method for mail delivery in urbanized areas.  Free-standing, pedestal-style outdoor centralized mailboxes are called kiosks or cluster box units or CBU’s that provide mailboxes as well as parcel lockers – a locked storage box for the delivery of various size parcels. CBU’s are the preferred mail delivery system in urbanized areas to improve efficiency and quality of services where populations are dense. Municipalities may have additional local design requirements to those required by the USPS for centralized mailboxes including, but not limited to, the provision of dedicated parking spaces to improve vehicle and pedestrian safety and the installation of a roof covering and lighting to protect against inclement weather and improve safety.

The USPS continues to seek opportunities to improve efficiency and the quality of delivery services and as a result, published standards and guides are continuously being updated by USPS. Therefore, it is recommended municipalities utilize the following link to the United States Postal Service that contains a comprehensive reference including an alphabetical listing of documents prepared and published by the USPS including design standards and guides for various types of mailboxes.


Reference Document(s):
file Regulating Mailboxes in Rights-of-Way.pdf