Traffic delays no reason to stall

  • Published
  • By Col. Mitchel Butikofer
  • Installation Commander
Getting onto Robins has never been easy.

That's partly by design.

The base, like most Air Force and other U.S. military installations, has always worked hard to keep out those who have no business being here in order to provide the safest environment possible. That has included continually reviewing and updating the rules surrounding base access.

For instance, among other things persons with DoD ID Cards must now be registered in the Defense Biometric Identification System or DBIDS, or, while those without DoD ID cards are allowed to come on the base 'unescorted,' but only after undergoing a background check.

The base has never been safer. Since July, we've denied access to more than 500 people with criminal convictions, and detained 35 with active warrants.

However, the traffic delays are also due, in part, to simple math.

On an average day, about 27,000 vehicles enter Robins. Most enter between 5:30 and 7:30 a.m., with the highest numbers between 5:45 and 6 a.m., 6:45 and 7 a.m. and 7:15 and 7:30 a.m.

Other things also contribute to the challenge of getting onto Robins such as elevations in the force protection level and scenarios in local, Air Force and DoD exercises - such as the two the base participated in the past couple of weeks - each prompt gate closings, which restrict both inbound and outbound traffic.

Our personnel are finding inventive ways to combat the traffic. Some have changed the time they leave home so they arrive at base when traffic at the gates is lighter. Others are participating in carpools or mass transit.

What some of you may not know is Robins has the second largest Transportation Incentive Program in the Air Force and distributes thousands of dollars and up to $125 a month to those employees who carpool. In fact, there are 23 reserve carpool parking spaces near the industrial flight lines, and we have the ability to expand to 127 spaces with increased participation.

Additionally, the Macon/Bibb Transit Authority brings Buses into Robins Daily and provides five off-base stops and 10 on-base stops. Employees who use our mass transit system are also eligible for incentives. Some employees have opted to use an alternate gate. According to a recent study, drivers and passengers can expect to pass through the Russell Parkway gate in about 8.5 minutes or less; the Watson Boulevard gate in about 9 minutes or less; the Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard gate in about 9.5 minutes or less; and the Green Street Gate in about 12 minutes or less (although we know there are days where some gates exceed this average).

As the installation continues to look for ways to trim wait times at the gates, I applaud those who are doing what they can to help, and I encourage those who want to carpool or use mass transit to contact our TIP coordinator, Staff Sgt. John Rogers at 468-4453.