Monday, June 25, 2007

New Downtown Zip Code...

Looks like part of 95814 is getting a new zip code as of July 1~

There was a time when Mark Gonzales was a 95822 man. It's the ZIP code he grew up with in Land Park, and the postal route that still rolls most easily off his tongue. But nothing lasts forever. When the 41-year-old moved to 11th and S streets, he had to adjust to his new and exciting life as a bearer of the 95814 standard. And now, his world will change again, when on July 1 the U.S. Postal Service debuts Sacramento's newest ZIP code, 95811.

"95811, 95811," Gonzales muttered, giving the new addendum a try. "Well, it's kind of easier to remember."

It's been longer than he can recall since midtown has been the recipient of a new ZIP code, said Augustine Ruiz, spokesman for the USPS Sacramento district. But with the area seeing so much growth and mail carriers and post offices attending to that much more mail, it was time, he said, for a fresh five digits. The new code will incorporate the developing downtown railyard and Richards Boulevard areas, as well as a band a few blocks wide on downtown's southern and western flanks. It's a change that Ruiz says will allow for better service, but one that some customers found a bit odd.

Most ZIP codes comprise large chunks of a city, but from the looks of it, 95811 has got 95814 in a heck of a half nelson, leading some customers to wonder if the post office wasn't making room for future railyard development. "I thought it was goofy," said Bill Senecal, manager of Beer's Books, which will be affected by the change. "It's like a gerrymandering effect." That's not the case, says Ruiz, adding that the post office keeps track of growth but stops short of predicting it.

"It has nothing to do with real estate issues," he said. "It has everything to do with efficient mail service." Postal customers will have a year to make the change before they run the risk of returned mail. For residential customers like Gonzales, it's no big deal. But for businesses forced to change two digits on everything from business cards and envelopes to mailing lists and letterheads, it's not nearly as simple.

Anne Marie Kramer, owner of Zuda Yoga on 19th and O streets, just had about $2,000 worth of fliers and other material printed up for her new business. And just two weeks after opening her doors, she's going to have to change them all. She sighs. Resigns herself to the inevitable.

"I could react to it," she said. "But it's not going to change what's going on." Business owners frequently complain about the hassles of address overhauls, said Kathy Adams, accounting supervisor of Sutter Printing Co., and she's seen the expense that can arise. And though Adams sympathizes with the situation, there's something about this particular dilemma that doesn't have her reaching for the tissues.

"It's a pain, it really is," she said. "I hope they come to us."


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