Gate change relieves congestion
January 24, 2013
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (January 24, 2013) -- Long lines of traffic at the Daleville Gate during peak hours may be a thing of the past as Directorate of Public Safety officials added an additional inbound lane to alleviate some of the wait.
From 7-8 a.m. and noon to 1 p.m., Mondays through Fridays, the Daleville Gate will have three inbound lanes coming onto the installation to help with traffic congestion, according to Marvin Brandon, chief of guards.
"Based off of feedback that we've gotten from people who use the gate most often, most were saying that during peak hours there were long lines to get onto [the installation]," said Brandon. "Based off that, we were asked to look into possible solutions, and the third inbound lane is what we decided would be the best way to speed things up."
There are two main things that people should keep in mind when coming onto the installation when the extra lane is available, according to John Tkac, chief of physical security.
"People should know that those that use [the new inbound] lane will have to make a left turn onto Novosel Street," he said. "We also ask that all visitors to the installation continue to use the right two lanes as well."
Although the new lane is meant to alleviate traffic coming onto the installation during peak hours, the process still requires some getting used to for both drivers and officials, according to Lt. Col. Madeline Bondy, provost marshal and director of public safety.
"Initially there was a learning curve [for everyone]," she said. "We were out there on the first day and it was probably confusing for some people, and they were hesitant to use the lane. They were wondering what it was and wondering if perhaps it was a compliance check, but after a while people learned to just flow into the lane."
The process to get the new lane in place has been ongoing and DPS did some testing with the lane Jan. 7-11.
"We initially tested this process for just the [noon to 1 p.m.] timeframe," said Bondy, "and when we back-briefed [Col. Stuart J. McRae, Fort Rucker garrison commander], he gave us the thumbs up to go permanent and to add the morning [timeframe as well]."
The additional lane will not be available during federal holidays and days of no scheduled activity, she added.
Currently there are water barriers that mark the third inbound lane, but Tkac said there are plans to make the change a more permanent one.
"The [Directorate of Public Works] is coming up with a more permanent [solution], which will include widening the entire entrance area to push the outbound lane over a bit," he said. "It would allow us to put an island with a guard booth and extend the overhang."
The addition of the new lane also came with some unintended but welcome benefits, according to Bondy.
"One of the things that we've noticed with the addition of the third lane is that it's forcing people to slow their speed down in the outbound lane," she said. "[One big problem we're having is] we are still seeing cars exceed the speed limit through the gates."
The speed limit when exiting the gates on either the Daleville or Enterprise side is 20 mph. Bondy said that many people are exiting the gates in excess of 30 mph, which puts the gate guards' as well as drivers' safety at risk.
There are also plans to install speed tables at both gates to help slow traffic and the main focus, like always, is safety, said Bondy.
"People should take into consideration that the guard in the third inbound lane is standing out there pretty vulnerable," she said. "All we ask is that people be cautious and considerate of others, and watch out for the guys at the gates."