PT road closures focus on safety
October 25, 2012
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (October 25, 2012) -- The morning rush to get to work can be hectic at times, but the safety of Soldiers during physical training hours should be everyone's first priority according to Directorate of Public Safety officials.
Mondays-Fridays from 5:30-7 a.m., Fifth Avenue is closed for morning PT, but installation officials have noted that some people are not complying with regulations and either driving on the road or crossing at non-designated crossing points, according to Lt. Col. Madeline Bondy, provost marshal and director of public safety on Fort Rucker.
"The main issue is that individuals are not complying with the requirement to either not drive on Fifth Avenue or cross where it is blocked," she said. "There are only three designated crossing points during that time of the morning; Division Road, Red Cloud Road and Novosel Street."
Signs are posted at almost every intersection stating the times during which the road is closed for PT in the mornings and cones are also set up along the route to ensure that people don't cross, but people are violating the regulation for a number of reasons, said Bondy.
"People may not be following the regulations because of a combination of things. There may be some individuals who are just ignoring the requirements just to use the most expedient route to get from Point A to Point B," she said. "Some people know that they aren't suppose to drive on Fifth Avenue, but may not know that they can't cross it, and some people are new here and just might not have knowledge of it, but either way, [the signs] are very clearly posted and people need to follow these regulations."
The regulations are in place specifically for the safety of the Soldiers that are doing their morning PT routes and part of DPS's and the Fort Rucker Police Department's job is to protect those Soldiers and enforce the regulations if necessary, said Marcel Dumais, chief of police on Fort Rucker.
"At 5:30 in the morning it's still dark out, and if someone is running PT, even if they have a reflective belt on, it's hard to see them," he said. "A person that crosses the PT route could potentially strike a Soldier doing PT.
"That's the major concern and that's the reason we want to make sure the PT route is closed and safe for Soldiers," said Dumais. "When you look at the [intersection] and you see a cone in the road, that means that you can't cross there. We've seen a lot of people driving around the cones in the road and we've been [enforcing the regulation] pretty hard this week."
The price a person has to pay for violating safety regulations is a citation and a $55 fine, but for installation officials, it's not about the citations or the money.
"We are here as enforcement like we are on a lot of things, but it's not just about citing people," said the police chief. "We're out there to try and protect the people that are doing their PT in the morning."
"We're not in the business of hammering and writing tickets," agreed Bondy. "Yes, we're here to enforce, but the key thing, the most important thing is the safety and security of this installation -- specifically the people and the resources on it."
Bondy said that one of the keys to ensuring safety for everyone is situational awareness and people on the installation should be aware of their surroundings and familiarize themselves with the driving regulations on post.
"If there is a sign on the side of the road … people should read it and take whatever is posted on it into consideration," she said. "People should take a few extra minutes to become aware and store that knowledge, and if they have questions, they can pick up the phone and call us."
For more information, call 255-2222, or 255-2511.