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Cumberland Ave. or Cumberland Dr.?

Question Corner: August 2021

by Tim Athan

From the August, 2021 issue

Q. My daughter lives on Cumberland in Ann Arbor and they recently received a letter from the USPS stating that mail could have sorting errors and delays if they don't use the appropriate name which, according to the USPS, is Cumberland Ave.

However, everyone on the street knows the street as Cumberland Drive as do all the major institutions that have Cumberland residents as customers. Some of those company systems cannot alter the street name ... Thus, various items of mail get tossed out of the automatic sorters and must be handled manually, which cause all kinds of delay in mail delivery.

My question for your curious investigative journalists ... When did this snafu first enter the equation?

A. The Observer contacted the USPS multiple times, but the responses were not helpful: "The Postal Service is committed to excellence in everything we do."

An online search provides plenty of evidence that many Americans struggle with postal address issues. In 2014 the USPS Inspector General concluded: "The Postal Service's efforts to reduce address database errors were ineffective."

An online USPS search tool finds only one Cumberland in the Ann Arbor zip codes. Our questions about why appending "DR" instead of an "AVE" caused such confusion went unanswered.

Postal customers can request address corrections by writing to:



1401 W FORT ST RM 908

DETROIT MI 48233-9321
A property deed can be used as evidence for the correct address.

Residents caught in this struggle might also try contacting the office of representative Debbie Dingell, who has shown a lively interest in local postal service issues.


Got a question? Email     (end of article)

[Originally published in August, 2021.]


On August 13, 2021, Ron Oblander wrote:
I found your article in 'question corner' on street addresses funny.

I've had weird experiences with my street, Pomona. I didn't know what went with Pomona when I first moved in and I started using Pomona St. over 30 years ago. It's taken me decades to get the corrected, Pomona Rd, in all my records.

It's kind of funny but the city can't even seem to get it straight. At times, I've seen Pomona Ave on one side of a sign and Pomona Rd on the other side of the same sign.

Years ago, the postal service set up a look-up system so companies could get correctioned addresses. For billing purposes, companies would enter lists of bills & addresses, they would then get corrected addresses, put them in their database of customers' addresses, and mail bills with the 'new' addresses.

Sounds simple, right? Then one time I start getting bills addressed, 'Ramona' instead of Pomona. This went on for awhile. I finally called the AA post office and inquired as to where in the world did they get Ramona. They told me it does not have anything to do with them, the Detroit Post Office must have made the change. I called the Detroit Post Office and inquired and they say those changes came from the AA PO. It took a couple more months of blame going back & forth until we finally got changed back to the correct Pomona Rd.

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