JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas –
One of Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph's most unique design features is the active south taxiway's intersection with Golf Road just north of Randolph Oaks Golf Course - a roadway traversed daily by privately owned vehicles, commercial vehicles and pedestrians.
However, it's also a dangerous crossroads, where collisions are a daily concern, so it's important for motorists and pedestrians to stop as directed at the intersection and exercise caution crossing it, JBSA-Randolph safety officials said.
"When people come to the red blinking lights approaching the taxiway, they should stop, look both ways and proceed only if it's safe to do so," Lt. Col. Tom Reagan, 12th Flying Training Wing flight safety officer, said. "Taxiway traffic has the right of way."
Prominent stop signs on both ends of the intersection include the red flashing lights as well as a warning in bold letters that "all vehicular and pedestrian traffic must stop and yield to aircraft and vehicular traffic on taxiways."
The taxiway is used regularly by airfield support vehicles, including fuel trucks and ground equipment vehicles, but less so by aircraft unless they're being towed, Reagan said. Since Taxiway G on the southwest side of JBSA-Randolph was extended, aircraft that taxi to and from the west flightline can avoid the south crossover.
"Because we've extended the taxiway, there's been less interaction with aircraft and vehicles, so people may not be thinking about traffic on the taxiway as much," he said.
Reagan said he has encountered vehicles that failed to yield while he was towing aircraft, including a recent incident.
"The vehicle didn't even see me," he said. "I had to stop the aircraft."
Runners and walkers also fail to yield at times, Reagan said. Wearing headphones or earphones is one reason they may be distracted from paying attention to taxiway traffic.
Collisions are not the only consequence of failure to yield to taxiway traffic.
Bekah Clark, 12th FTW chief of public affairs, said not yielding to emergency vehicles on the taxiway could delay them and have potentially devastating results.
"Because someone failed to yield, fire crews may not be able to get to an incident on the flightline on time," she said. "A vehicle could potentially be stalling a response to a serious issue."
Clark also said it's unusual to have an active ramp that intersects a road traveled by POVs and pedestrians, so newcomers to JBSA-Randolph may not be aware of the situation.
Reagan said airfield support vehicles and aircraft cross the taxiway on a regular basis, about every 10 to 15 minutes, so motorists and pedestrians on Golf Road should "use good judgment and common sense."
The 12th FTW safety office is undertaking a media campaign to draw attention to the problem of not yielding to taxiway vehicles.
"We want people to be aware of crossing traffic and act accordingly," Reagan said.