Is it illegal to park in front of a mailbox?

Q: Vera Benson of Hemet asked if it’s illegal to park in front of a mailbox and whether mail carriers have the right not to deliver the mail if a vehicle is parked in front of the mailbox, blocking it.

A: There is no specific California vehicle code section which prohibits parking in front of a mailbox, said Greg Matthews, a detective in the Riverside Police Department Traffic Unit. However, by law, you can’t impede the delivery of mail on purpose. Title 18, Part 1, Chapter 83  of the United States Code, Section 1701 Obstruction of Mails Generally states, “Whoever knowingly and willfully obstructs or retards the passage of the mail, or any carrier or conveyance carrying the mail, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.” The law doesn’t mention using a vehicle, but like many laws, seems purposely vague so it’s open for interpretation as to enforcement. Matthews said that theoretically, a postal inspector could come out and investigate someone for blocking a mailbox with their car.

United States Postal Service policy regarding blocked mailboxes says, “The city or rural carrier should get out of the vehicle to make delivery if the mailbox is temporarily blocked by a vehicle. However, if the carrier continually experiences a problem in serving curb line or rural boxes where the customer is able to control on street parking, the postmaster may withdraw delivery service.”

Q: Bob Palomarez of Moreno Valley said his city, with over 200,000 residents, has too few main exits out of the city. Palomarez said traffic in Moreno Valley “is terrible every day” and will surely worsen as the population increases. “Is there anything the state has planned, or the county, for helping to relieve the traffic congestion that’s only going to get worse?” he asked.

A: At this time, Caltrans does not have any projects planned to expand the area’s freeway system, said spokeswoman Emily Leinen, but various improvement projects are planned to maintain the infrastructure. “Caltrans will continue to monitor and partner with other agencies for future multimodal transportation projects,” she said.

The Riverside County Transportation Commission has some projects in the works that may help.

Work started in October 2022 on Moreno Valley/March Field Station improvements and are expected to be completed in spring 2024, said RCTC spokeswoman Cheryl Donahue. RCTC, in partnership with Metrolink, is upgrading the Moreno Valley/March Field Station in Riverside which serves Metrolink’s 91/Perris Valley Line and is the midpoint between the Perris-Downtown Station and the Riverside-Downtown Station, she said. They are adding a second train platform and lengthening the existing train platform to accommodate the length of Metrolink’s standard six-car trains. This will allow for service improvements on the 91/Perris Valley Line as well as improved service reliability within Riverside County. The project also will upgrade 2.5 miles of track, part of a future nine-mile double-track corridor south of the station. The hope is this will reduce congestion on the 215 Freeway by offering public transit options.

Donahue said the commission is also seeking funds to add a second set of Metrolink tracks between the Moreno Valley/March Field Station and the Perris-Downtown Station. This would allow for additional Metrolink service through Perris, Moreno Valley and areas to the west.

Do you commute to work in the Inland Empire? Spend a lot of time in your vehicle? Have questions about driving, freeways, toll roads or parking? If so, write or call On the Road and we’ll try to answer your questions. Please include your question or issue, name, city of residence, phone number and email address. Write or call 951-368-9670.

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