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NEWS | Dec. 14, 2016

Use caution; keep watch at crosswalks

By Beverly Joyner 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

In order to minimize the hazards associated with sharing the roadways, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, pedestrians and motorists should exercise caution when using or approaching crosswalks.


According to the 633rd Security Forces Squadron, military personnel who fail to yield to pedestrians using crosswalks on JBLE will be issued an armed forces traffic ticket, while civilian personnel will receive a U. S. District Court violation notice.


Furthermore, four points will be added to the on-base driving records for both military and civilians. Four points will also be added to the off-base driving records of civilians, in addition to a $200 fine.


“Prior to the installation of pedestrian crosswalks at Langley Air Force Base, an evaluation is made as to whether the location is in a high volume traffic area and if there is a documented need,” said Jeffrey Crewe, 633rd Civil Engineer Squadron traffic engineer.


According to Crewe, due to the 633rd SFS’s documentation of safety issues on Nealy Avenue, between the U.S. Air Force Hospital Langley and 633rd Medical Group Dental Clinic, a motion-sensor lighted pedestrian crosswalk was installed, which is considered above national and Department of Defense standards.


Fort Eustis also experienced documented pedestrian safety issues at one of its most heavily traveled areas on Jefferson Avenue outside McDonald Army Health Center. At that location, signs are located along the pedestrian crosswalks to remind drivers to yield for pedestrians.


“The key for us, as traffic engineers, is to try to minimize the potential for interaction between pedestrians and vehicles,” said Robert James, 733rd Civil Engineer Division civil engineer. “I would encourage drivers to be vigilant in regards to pedestrian traffic and just be safe and watch out for one another.”


According to Mark Sciacchitano, 733rd CED director, other heavy traffic areas at Fort Eustis with safety issues include the roadway in front of the Regimental Memorial Chapel, and in the housing area at 26th Street and Madison Avenue.


“The Fort Eustis Residential Working Group expressed concerns about the housing area location which is near a school bus stop,” said Sciacchitano. “We’ve installed a lighted crosswalk there and when people approach, the sensor picks them up and it sets lights off across the road so drivers can see that somebody’s actually in the crosswalk.”


Pedestrians should also be aware of their surroundings prior to crossing the street.


“Pedestrians should not automatically assume they are going to be safe when stepping onto a crosswalk,” Crewe said. “Yes, it’s the responsibility of the drivers to slow down, but it’s also the responsibility of pedestrians to look to make sure drivers are acknowledging that they are getting ready to step in the crosswalk.”


According to the 633rd Air Base Wing Safety office, drivers should pay attention to posted signs and road guards, and slow down regardless of posted speed limits when pedestrians or runners are present. Drivers are encouraged to minimize distractions since anything that could divert attention from driving is considered distracted driving.


The 633rd ABW safety office advises motorists to remember that pedestrians have the right of way in crosswalks and recommends that pedestrians always use the designated crosswalks on JBLE.


For more information about JBLE pedestrian crosswalks contact the 633rd ABW safety office on Langley Air Force Base at 764-5057 or on Fort Eustis at 501-8224.