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Dangerous crosswalk and speed limit

  • Published
  • By Brig Gen Robert P. Steel
  • 48th Fighter Wing commander

QUESTION: 

As a frequent Lakenheath visitor I have noticed a dangerous situation that I hope can be fixed. It concerns the road from the main gate to the gas station.
The sign just inside the main gate, at the roundabout, indicates a base-wide speed limit of 25 mph unless otherwise posted. As you go towards the gas station there are no other signs, which would lead one to believe that the limit is indeed 25. This is excessive, and I once came around that bend, under 25 but still moving right along, and had to brake sharply when I saw a man and child in the crosswalk. The crosswalk that is right after a sharp bend you can't see around. Most Americans think that those lines are magic and give an invisible barrier to vehicles - not true. Had I been going the 25 mph apparent speed limit I could easily have caused serious injury or death.
The crosswalk doesn't seem necessary there - especially so close to a sharp bend, and maybe should be painted over and eliminated? 


But what about that speed limit? It is posted as 15 mph coming in the other direction, from the gas station towards the main gate, but not towards the gas station. I asked a security forces person on the gate, and he said that the speed limit is enforced as 15 mph in both directions - and everyone should know that. 

After passing a 25 mph sign I am not going to assume that the limit is suddenly 15 mph without a sign.

ANSWER:

Thank you for bringing this to my attention as road and traffic safety is one of my highest priorities. Last summer I directed my traffic safety working group, which has members from the civil engineer squadron, security forces squadron and wing safety to take actions that would enhance visibility at our crosswalks and roundabouts. Signage was improved and landscaping that restricted visibility was carefully removed. I asked them to study the particular crosswalk you've highlighted and they determined it should remain in place as a way to transition the footpath from one side of Douglas Ave. to the other.

To raise awareness of this crossing to approaching drivers though, a crosswalk sign will be installed.

You also raise a great point with respect to the posted speed limit. The maximum speed in that area is 15 mph. I've directed my civil engineers to install a speed limit sign to ensure driver awareness. The base-wide speed limit is 25 mph, but there are several areas and times where slower speeds are necessary because of schools, crosswalks or environmental conditions.

If you are ever in doubt about the speed limit in the area, I recommend slowing down to 15 mph until you are sure of the posted limit. 

The Action Line is your direct link to me for complaints, suggestions or comments. It's not intended to replace the chain of command. When normal command agency channels haven't been able to resolve your concerns, call 226-2324, fax 226- 5637, e-mail ( Action.Line@lakenheath.af.mil), send through distribution (48 FW/PA), mail (48FW/PA, Unit 5210 Box 215 APO AE 09461-0215) or hand carry your Action Line to the public affairs office (Building 1085). You may remain anonymous; however, to receive a reply, please leave your name, unit, duty or home phone number and full APO mailing address. Names are confidential.