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Feedback Fridays

By Brig. Gen. Laura L. Lenderman | 502d Air Base Wing Commander | Nov. 1, 2019

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO, Texas —

Feedback Fridays is a weekly forum that aims to connect the 502d Air Base Wing with members of the Joint Base San Antonio community. Questions are collected during commander’s calls, town hall meetings and throughout the week.

If you have a question or concern, please send an email to RandolphPublicAffairs@us.af.mil using the subject line “Feedback Fridays.” Questions will be further researched and published as information becomes available.

Personnel Issues

Q. When will those with VA ID cards be able to use the Base Exchange and Commissary on JBSA-Lackland and other local bases?

A. Perfect timing! The directed implementation date for this system to go into effect is Jan. 1, 2020. This provision is in the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act of 2019 and is a great opportunity to give back to those veterans that have disabilities and their caregivers.

Right now, we are awaiting additional official guidance and direction from the Department of Defense. From there, each uniformed service will add their specific guidance and it will be passed down to our installations so we may develop our implementation plan and advertising campaign. You should be hearing more in the near future!

Installation & Facilities

Q. The parking lot for the JBSA-Fort Sam Houston Security Forces Armory, building 4019, is extremely small. Are there any plans to address the parking complications?

A. Thank you for bringing this forward. The existing parking lot for building 4019 is indeed small with very little room for expansion. However, our planners met with the building’s Facility Managers, or FMs, to learn about their operations and vehicle parking requirements.

The FMs had previously identified this situation to CE, however, as this is not an easy fix, CE has not yet been able to resolve. The FMs described all the functions that take place in building 4019, and discussed future plans for the facility and other facilities and infrastructure in the area.

The solution will require a comprehensive development plan to reconfigure open space around the building. The adjacent site is currently a construction zone for the new Unaccompanied Housing Barracks.

We are working on predicting the finished product, and incorporating the ideas the District Development Plan, which is scheduled for later this year. In the meantime, we are continually exploring ideas that may offer some improvement to the current situation until bigger projects can be accomplished.

Q. Fire Station 4 is moldy and the foundation is sinking. When will these issues be addressed?

A. Thank you for highlighting this issue. Our team is committed to providing a safe work environment for each and every member of the JBSA Team.

The 902 Civil Engineer Squadron Commander, Lt. Col. Tortella, is aware of the facility concerns at Fire Station 4 and is actively engaging with your flight leaders and facility management team to ensure facility conditions remain safe for occupancy and to support operations.

Your safety is my primary concern. Thank you for you do every day to keep all JBSA mission partners and resources safe.

Q. I have a few concerns regarding the vehicles and supplies for CE. First, the CE plumbers are using 10- to 15-year-old vehicles when supervisors seem to be getting new vehicles every 2-4 years.

Second, the supply here at JBSA-Randolph refuse to get supplies while JBSA-Lackland and JBSA-Fort Sam Houston are well supplied.

Lastly, can CE get reserved parking spaces? We have to carry tools and parts, and it would be more efficient to be immediately in front of the building/work area.

A. Thank you for your concern. Regarding the vehicles, the 502nd LRS is responsible for assessing vehicle usage and conditions on an annual basis. These assessments are based on the overall condition of the vehicle and the odometer readings.

When vehicles are no longer considered operational, they are removed from the inventory and replaced. If your vehicles are reaching their end-of-life or are no longer in working condition, please contact the 502nd LRS Vehicle Operations Center so they can re-assess and determine if newer vehicles are needed.

Regarding the cross flow of supplies, the 502nd CES has a JBSA enterprise-wide perspective, with emphasis on ensuring all locations are equally supported. CE will begin to address your concern by assessing the issue of supply crossflow to identify any barriers and determine the way ahead.  

Lastly, our 502nd CES team conducts periodic assessments of reserved parking spots to ensure they are driven by mission needs. To further help with our assessment, please reach out to 502nd CES leadership for any specific requirement for CE work vehicle reserved parking spots.  Thanks again for bringing this concern forward, and please continue to provide feedback!

Q. When will law enforcement crack down on people driving and texting and walking and texting? I have seen numerous people at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston violate these policies.

A. Thank you for this important safety-related question.

We take these events very seriously, and we actually created a local policy last year that states if an individual is caught driving non-hands free or is texting while driving, Security Forces can issue an instant, pre-signed 30-day notice of suspension/revocation of base driving privileges (per JBSA supplement to Air Force Manual 31-116, dated October 15, 2018).

I know this policy is being continually enforced thanks to our Defenders’ public awareness campaigns, and from the reports of cell phone violations captured in the Security Forces Police Blotter that I read daily. Regarding walking and texting, both the Air Force and Army allow this in limited cases (i.e., emergencies and official business) with the rendering of customs and courtesies having precedence above all else (per Air Force Instruction 36-2903, paragraph 6.3.3.2, and Army Regulation 670-1, section 3-6.a.(d)).

Violations are handled with on-the-spot corrections and unit commander administrative action vs. being ticketed by Defenders and police. Thank you for your concern of our JBSA personnel, and please continue to provide feedback.

Q. I noted Brig. Gen. Lenderman’s response to a Commander’s Call suggestion to designate one lane for base entry for those not having CAC cards. The suggestion was apparently rejected because of a traffic study indicating it would require unsafe lane changes as people read the sign on the gate, then maneuvered to get into the lane applicable to them (CAC or non-CAC).

I have a simpler suggestion applicable only to JBSA-Lackland and really only on Thursdays and Fridays. The 37th Training Wing, in the material they send out to Basic Military Training parents, should instruct families of trainees to use the right lane only when entering the gates.

Then, the 37th TRW should let the rest of the base know that they have informed the families of this new rule.  The rest of us are then free to use the left lane(s) as normal.  Part of the delay associated with the BMT families is the extra time it takes to check a non-CAC holder’s ID and paperwork.  

A bigger part of the delay – and normally longer when it occurs is from a driver receiving (& trying to understand) directions from a gate guard.

If this suggestion proved helpful, all mission partners at each installation of JBSA where there is more than one entry lane could be instructed to: (1) tell their visitors to use the right hand lane (at least if they don’t have a CAC card); and (2) send their visitors directions before they arrive at the gate.

A. Thank you for your suggestion on optimizing traffic flow during the weekly BMT graduations. Our SF planners work closely with the 37th Training Wing to find new and innovative ways to expedite the incoming traffic in a safe and secure manner, such as new signage, pavement markings and square “QR” barcodes you can scan with your smartphone.

Your suggestion of a dedicated right-hand lane may further exacerbate traffic stacking and delays outside of our perimeter; however, that is what is statistically in effect today. Ninety-nine percent of BMT families use the middle and right lanes at the Luke East Gate.

We continue to stress use of alternate reporting hours and installation access points by our permanent party personnel, especially on Thursdays and Fridays.

Thank you for your suggestion! This kind of feedback is what allows our amazing Defenders to continue to do a great job in vetting and checking 4,000 to 6,000 visitors weekly, while ensuring all attending family members of our Trainees receive the pre-arrival information they need to best navigate the base and minimize questions and authentication time at the gate so they can enjoy their loved ones’ entry into the world’s greatest Air Force!

Q. I would like to address the subject of the new one-way spiked speed bumps that were installed at several gates at JBSA-Lackland.

I drive a Honda Goldwing motorcycle and every time I go over them, I bottom out and hit the underside of my bike. It is also hard to navigate because they have so many bumps so close together.

I am afraid my motorcycle is going to be damaged by this continuous bottoming out. Is there anything we can do to fix this?

A. Thank you for this question, as all motorcyclists should know about this. The new speed bumps and their spacing are required by recent updates to the Department of Defense policy for military construction and sustainment, called the “Unified Facilities Criteria.”

These additional devices and their size are mandated to help better protect all DOD installations and the workforce against high-speed vehicles that don’t have to negotiate barriers at slow speed when driving through the inbound and outbound lanes at the gate.

I would encourage all riders to deliberately lower their acceleration as they maneuver over the speed bumps as they exit the installation. While this is inconvenient for commuters, we can expect to see more of these in the future where there are only single bumps in order to meet the DOD standards.

Thank you for your patience and cooperation with these needed security measures to keep JBSA safe!

Q. I have a suggestion regarding expired POV registration and base access. Could we waive the rules that deny base access to vehicles with expired registration stickers? The base enforcement procedures are far more stringent than that of local authorities and I believe they are unnecessary.

Additionally, it’s discriminatory against Texans because it only affects Texas-plated vehicles. If it’s a safety concern, it should be noted that not all states require vehicles inspections.

A. Thank you for your question regarding JBSA roadworthy requirements.

All vehicles entering JBSA are required to be registered due to federal and state traffic law requirements. Title 18 U.S. Code § 13 (“Laws of States Adopted for Areas within Federal Jurisdiction”) allows us to assimilate state law. This means our Defenders will enforce state traffic laws where applicable, such as vehicle registrations from any state or U.S. territory.

This includes enforcing state-specific laws, such as Texas Transportation Code § 502.407 (“Operation of Vehicle with Expired License Plate”).

To further dispel any perceived discrimination, our Defenders also conduct random vehicle inspections at all entry controls points to verify basic compliance requirements that apply nationwide, to include a valid and current driver’s license, registration and proof of insurance.

We do this to both maintain compliance with the law and ensure the safety and security of our JBSA community and roadways.

Q. I believe that it would be very beneficial to consider installing some yield signs or stop signs throughout the JBSA-Randolph Base Exchange and Commissary parking lot. I see drivers darting out from the various Commissary and Base Exchange parking lot areas into the main horizontal road that stretches from the gas station to the rear of the Base Exchange Garden Shop.

Many times, the drivers don’t even look when they pull out in front of you from the parking lot areas onto the main horizontal road. The drivers just expect you to stop for them. I believe some yield or stop signs would help solve this ongoing problem.

In addition, I believe more pedestrian cross walks should also be provided across the main road that runs horizontal between the Base Exchange and Commissary Building. I see pedestrians jaywalking and darting out in front of traffic hoping that the drivers will see them and stop for them.

A. We appreciate your question concerning the JBSA-Randolph Base Exchange and Commissary Parking lot area as personnel safety is one of the 502d ABW’s top priorities.

The BX/Commissary parking lot has six defined access points, two off of New B Street and four off of 3rd Street West. The main roadway that’s referenced is a two way access aisle for the parking lot area and not a designated street.

Parking lot areas are not subject to Texas Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Device requirements with regards to signs and pavement markings. To provide a safe walkway for pedestrians, a designated central crosswalk from the BX to the Commissary was established.

Regardless, the JBSA-Randolph Traffic Safety Coordination Group will present this at our next meeting and look at all legal means to protect the safety of motorists and pedestrians alike.

In the meantime, motorists and pedestrians should pay special attention in these highly congested areas on JBSA-Randolph. Pedestrians need to use crosswalks, always look both ways before entering a crosswalk, and don’t step into a crosswalks until the approaching vehicle stops.

Motorists, drive slow and anticipate that the pedestrian, especially young children, may step out in front of your vehicle whether in a crosswalk or not so be prepared to stop. Everyone should eliminate any distractions while driving or walking in these areas as well, (i.e. put phone down).

For all future traffic safety concerns, we encourage personnel to address them with each location’s Safety Office:

JBSA-Fort Sam Houston/JBSA-Camp Bullis, 210-221-5239, usaf.jbsa.502-abw.mbx.safety-office@mail.mil;
JBSA-Lackland, 210-671-5028, 502abw.se.jbsa-lak@us.af.mil; or
JBSA-Randolph, 210-652-1842, 502abw.olb.gound.safety@us.af.mil.

Q. I wanted to bring to your attention the parking issue at the mini-mall on the corner of William Hardee Road and Williams Road at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston.

It seems that during working hours, the mini-mall parking lot is always full. This is odd because when you walk into the mini-mall, especially late in the afternoon, there are not that many folks in the entire mall. The amount of cars in the parking lot would not even equal all of the workers in the building plus customers.

I’ve asked some of the workers there why the parking situation is so bad and they have told me that the military instructors and others that work nearby are parking in the mini-mall parking lot instead of utilizing their designated parking lots (which I am assuming is farther away).

I would hope that you agree that military instructors should not be utilizing mini-mall parking ALL DAY because they don’t want to use their own parking lots that may be farther away. This takes away from mini-mall customer parking and ultimately mini-mall sales.

I can tell you that if the parking lot is full, I will just keep driving and go somewhere else. Folks end up parking across the road in a parking lot that is supposed to be for dorm parking. Not only does this take up dorm parking, but then folks have to walk further across the busy road (in the heat and traffic with no cross walks) to get to the mini-mall. They also park in the grass and other non-designated parking spaces.

The instructors taking up mini-mall parking are causing a domino effect on mini-mall customers just so that they can park closer to work.

As an individual with a disability, I cannot find a regular parking spot during peak or even non-peak hours, let alone find handicap parking. There is a large area behind the mini-mall that has absolutely nothing there. Do you know if there are any plans to expand the parking at all?

Also, would you be able to speak to security forces to see if they can prevent the military instructors from using mini-mall parking as their all-day parking spaces.

A. Thank you for highlighting this concern. Parking is a challenge across all of JBSA, to include in this specific area on JBSA-Fort Sam Houston.

The Civil Engineer team, along with the JBSA-Fort Sam Houston Executive Agent, has been actively working to address this issue. The challenge with this area is there are many competing users, and limited space for parking growth due to topography and security stand-off distances.

The specific concern regarding handicap parking has been looked at, and it has been determined that there are an adequate number spaces in those lots. However, because Texas law allows for disabled veteran parking in these spaces, there is no way to restrict such usage often causing non-availability to meet the demand.

Our CE team has identified some potential growth and restriping opportunities, however, this will not provide a major increase for that area, and execution is dependent on funds. There is adequate parking in the general area of these facilities, however, it does require walking a greater distance to workspaces, and workers in that area are encouraged to use these other parking areas to help ensure access to service facilities such as the Shoppette.

We will explore the option of adding 15-minute parking spaces to limit full-day parking. Fortunately, if parking is not available, there are other AAFES services available on JBSA-Fort Sam Houston to utilize, with major improvements currently underway for our main AAFES plaza on JBSA-Fort Sam Houston.

Q. Can you talk about the impact about the 1604 and Rocket Lane, Bexar County planned expansion outside of base?

A. Thank you for your question and interest in development around JBSA. The Air Base Wing has been in discussions with Texas Department of Transportation, or TxDOT, on future plans, however, at this time there have been no official decisions made. Once an agreement is reached, information will be shared with the public.

Q. Recently, I approached the Valley Hi Gate at JBSA-Lackland and the traffic was backed up as usual, but the left lane seemed to be moving faster so I assumed it was open.

As I got closer to the gate, I realized only the right lane was open. I sat in the left lane waiting for someone to let me in for over five minutes. In frustration, I began angling my car towards the right lane and was finally let in.

There were three Security Forces troops on duty, one checking IDs, the other two standing idle, except one left the gate to stop traffic so a car could exit the Visitor’s Center.

When I reached the SF troop he took my ID and asked if there was a reason why I pushed my car into the right lane traffic. I responded truthfully although I did not “push” my way into the lane; there was never a risk of me hitting another car.

The SF troop then proceeded to counsel me to remain in my lane until all traffic cleared. While understanding that limited manning has resulted in only one lane being open it should also be acknowledged that the situation at that gate is beyond inconvenient – with troops walking on/off base, VIA buses blocking lanes, and cars entering/exiting businesses, the situation is hazardous and it is surprising there are not more accidents.

My questions are: 1) Is there a way to alert incoming traffic which lane is open because it seems to change every week. I would not have got in the left lane had I known the right lane was open. 2) If more than one SF member is at the gate, can traffic be directed, i.e. take turns letting each lane go just like the troop stopped traffic to allow the car the Visitor’s Center to exit. 3) Can we open two lanes briefly just until the traffic clears?

A. Thank you for your questions and suggestions on how to best flow traffic through our gates during special evening events. Regarding your suggestion on alerting incoming traffic, our Defenders have had conversations with Civil Engineers about installing the “green arrow - red X” signs at each gate.

We have yet to reach a solution because the overhead cover is a canopy and not a structure, which does not easily accommodate electrically-lit signage.

While it seems intuitive that two on-site Defenders means one for each gate, one Defender must always be ready to assist the other (e.g., handling an incident or search at the curb or rendering aid or relief to the other Defender), preventing the ability to dedicate the other Defender to a second gate.

Our Security Forces leadership regularly evaluate the usage of all gates, the manpower available to them, and special events such as yours, to provide the best balance of installation security and accommodation.

Please continue to provide this type of feedback, as it helps our leadership in their assessments on how to better help our JBSA personnel. Thank you!

Miscellaneous

Q. When will the payroll site for NAF employees be fixed, or up and running?

A. I’ve recently received several questions regarding the same important topic, so hopefully I can address all those concerns here.

Unfortunately, the website, https://afsfms.afsv.net, is only accessible from a computer on a government network. Both network access and system permissions will dictate an employee’s ability to access Discoverer, Oracle, MyMoney, view statements, and modify their W4 form. Per the AFSVC IT Office, there is a workaround that might help our employees on the .mil network: https://afsfms.afsv.net/.

If you are unable to connect to the above site with a .mil computer (spin of death), then:
1. Confirm SSL is unchecked and TLS are all checked
2. Ensure the URL (afsv.net) has been added to the Compatibility View Settings. If you still receive the error (Proxy, Server, etc.) that means that your base’s external IPs may be blocked.
3
. Go to google.com and type in the search bar “What is my IP” (only from a .mil CPU). Open a MyPers ticket and attach/copy that IP to it.
4. Once AFSVC receives the ticket, the Network Team will action it to add the computer to the Access List, allowing connection to the network.

Another option that will be available soon is the https://nafpay.afsv.net/ website, which will be accessible from home and/or a mobile device. When active, users will be able to access LES and W2 information on this site. AFSVC will notify all customers when the site is operational. In the meantime, if the workarounds above are not effective, please let us know and we will reengage with AFSVC.

Q. I have noticed there are a lot of issues that come up with driving. Perhaps JBSA can do more to encourage multimodal transportation to alleviate traffic and problems.

To complement the wonderful Public Transportation Benefit Program that my colleagues and I use for vanpools and VIA Bus Passes, more can be done.

For example, vanpools can have designated parking spots closer to the entrance. Those who take the VIA bus also have to walk to the bus stop. Perhaps, they could be allowed a small cushion of time to make it to their pickup point.

Bicycling could also be encouraged. Bike parking should be installed with cover/roofing in areas closer to building entrances. Perhaps bicycle share stations could be installed so people could ride throughout base.  Bicycling would be a healthy way for many to get around while alleviating parking issues.

A. Thank you for your feedback! Unfortunately, allowing VIA buses onto the installation is a security concern for JBSA, much like our restrictions on Uber and Lyft drivers.

VIA has expressed openness in the past to adding stops, however that does not solve the issue of non-credentialed drivers and passenger access to the installation.

As it stands right now, we do not have the ridership during the weekdays to support an express-type shuttle that would only support DOD ID card holders. We recognize the great benefits that mass transportation has for employees who choose to utilize it, and we also understand that bus schedules may not always line-up with each person’s tour of duty.

Employees’ work hours will vary dependent on their work center and its need to fulfill the mission. If for some reason transportation schedules do not accommodate work schedules, I encourage everyone to work with their supervisors to try to make work schedule adjustments, i.e., adjust lunch periods, arrival or departure time, etc.

I understand the concern, and I appreciate you bringing this to our attention as we strive to make JBSA as accommodating as we can!