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Watch out! Grissom gets new stop signs, reduced speed limits

GRISSOM AIR RESERVE BASE, Ind. -- Staff Sgt. Patrick Barringer, 434th Security Forces fire team member, watches a vehicle come to a complete stop at a new stop sign recently installed on base. New stop signs and crosswalk markings are being installed and speed limits are being changed across the base to better improve pedestrian safety. Sergeant Barringer and his police car parked near the new stop sign help alert motorists to the changes. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech.  Sgt. Mark R. W. Orders-Woempner)

GRISSOM AIR RESERVE BASE, Ind. -- Staff Sgt. Patrick Barringer, 434th Security Forces fire team member, watches a vehicle come to a complete stop at a new stop sign recently installed on base. New stop signs and crosswalk markings are being installed and speed limits are being changed across the base to better improve pedestrian safety. Sergeant Barringer and his police car parked near the new stop sign help alert motorists to the changes. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Mark R. W. Orders-Woempner)

GRISSOM AIR RESERVE BASE, Ind. -- Senior Airman Michaela McClintock, 434th Logistics Readiness Squadron knowledge operations apprentice, drives by a new stop sign recently installed on base. New stop signs and crosswalk markings are being installed and speed limits are being changed across the base to better improve pedestrian safety. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech.  Sgt. Mark R. W. Orders-Woempner)

GRISSOM AIR RESERVE BASE, Ind. -- Senior Airman Michaela McClintock, 434th Logistics Readiness Squadron knowledge operations apprentice, drives by a new stop sign recently installed on base. New stop signs and crosswalk markings are being installed and speed limits are being changed across the base to better improve pedestrian safety. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Mark R. W. Orders-Woempner)

GRISSOM AIR RESERVE BASE, Ind. -- A motorist heads towards a newly installed stop sign on Skytrain Street here April 22 as Staff Sgt. Patrick Barringer, 434th Security Forces fire team member, watches. New stop signs and crosswalk markings are being installed and speed limits are being changed across the base to better improve pedestrian safety. Sergeant Barringer and his police car parked near the new stop sign help alert motorists to the changes. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech.  Sgt. Mark R. W. Orders-Woempner)

GRISSOM AIR RESERVE BASE, Ind. -- A motorist heads towards a newly installed stop sign on Skytrain Street here April 22 as Staff Sgt. Patrick Barringer, 434th Security Forces fire team member, watches. New stop signs and crosswalk markings are being installed and speed limits are being changed across the base to better improve pedestrian safety. Sergeant Barringer and his police car parked near the new stop sign help alert motorists to the changes. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Mark R. W. Orders-Woempner)

GRISSOM AIR RESERVE BASE, Ind. -- Watch out! Grissom's roads are changing as new stop signs and crosswalk markings are being installed and speed limits are being changed across the base.

"Last summer, the wing commander expressed concern about pedestrian safety on the installation, so my staff and I got together and did an installation traffic safety analysis," said Maj. Christopher Witter, 434th Security Forces commander. "It took about two months to get the whole thing done, and we noticed a number of issues, such as people not stopping for crosswalks and people exceeding the speed limit."

Crosswalks were initially the biggest concern, explained Major Witter, who added that some people weren't even aware crosswalks were there.

"We had some complaints from people who work here and walk from building to building in the summer for (physical exercise)," the major continued. "They'd be in the crosswalk and someone would shoot by, and that's a legitimate safety concern."

Crosswalks will now be marked with highly visible signs, solar-powered flashing lights and rumble strips, according to Bill Perkins, a real property maintenance manager with a base contractor here. Motor vehicle operators are required to yield to pedestrian traffic in crosswalks.

Another concern the safety analysis brought to light was speeding on base, where speed limits range from 10 to 30 mph.

"People weren't blowing by at 50 mph, they were only 4 or 5 mph over, but when there's someone in a crosswalk, those 4 or 5 mph can make a huge difference," explained Major Witter.

The 30 mph zone on Hoosier Boulevard will now be reduced to 25 mph. Parking lots on base will have signs posted indicating a 10 mph limit.

Perhaps one of the biggest changes occurring on Grissom's roads is the replacement of several yield signs with stop signs across base. In total, five yields will be replaced with stop signs, and an additional 27 stop signs will be placed in parking lots around base.

"You're supposed to slow down and look both ways where there's a yield and most people weren't doing that, so our recommendation was for most yield signs to be replaced by stop signs," said Major Witter. "People weren't doing it to be malicious; people have just been here for 15 to 20 years and had gotten very comfortable."

One of the biggest concerns noted by the installation traffic safety analysis was the yield sign at the flight line gate closest to the base exchange.

"The new drop arm flight line gate by the BX, now that it's automated, people can use it," explained the major. "People aren't used to driving up there and having an (aerospace ground equipment) tug coming the other way."

With all of the changes either already in place or taking place, Major Witter said he wants to make sure people understand the nature and purpose behind them.

"We didn't do this to up our citations; really, we did all this for 'the other guy,'" he explained. "We're trying to take care of the other guy; trying to take care of our wingman.

"The idea is that people will become more conscious of their actions when they're approaching these intersections," Major Witter added. "I would ask that people be patient, open-minded and remember there are other people who use these roads."

According to Mr. Perkins, all of the signs, lights and rumble strips should be installed by the end of May, weather permitting.

Below is a summary of all changes taking place to the Grissom roads:
- Reduce 30 mph zone on Hoosier Boulevard to 25 mph
- Replace yield sign with a stop sign at the intersection of Warthog Street and Hoosier Boulevard
- Replace yield sign with a stop sign at the intersection of Grissom Avenue and Boxcar Street
- Replace yield sign with a stop sign at the intersection of Boxcar Street and Skytrain Street
- Replace yield sign with a stop sign at the intersection of Skytrain Street and Hoosier Boulevard
- Replace yield sign with a stop sign at the exit of Building 597 parking lot onto Boxcar Street
- Place 27 additional stop signs at parking lot exits
- Install 10 mph signs at parking lot entrances
- Install pedestrian crossing signs with solar-powered flashing lights at crosswalks
- Install rumble strips at crosswalks

Grissom is home to the 434th Air Refueling Wing, the largest KC-135R Stratotanker unit in the Air Force Reserve Command.

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