Illegal parking at Gaffney raises safety concerns

Rushing to workout at 6 a.m. at Gaffney Fitness Center, service members park illegally along Broadfoot Road. (Photo by Nicole Munchel)

Vehicles parked illegally outside Gaffney Fitness Center have spawned complaints that now have the attention of garrison leadership and law enforcement officials.

This issue impacts both personal and collective safety as well as the obeying of legal parking rules, according to Fort Meade safety and security officials.

“Our primary concern is ensuring that all who use the area to build and maintain their physical readiness and resilience can do so safely and efficiently,” said Lt. Daniel Schismenos, traffic division chief at the Fort Meade Directorate of Emergency Services.

“We’ve noted that there’s a growing obstacle to safely engaging in morning PT because of vehicle parking habits.”

Vehicles are illegally parked on the grass along Broadfoot Road. (Photo by Nicole Munchel)

The issue is significant during early morning PT hours when vehicles are parked along the sides of Broadfoot Road.

Officials said the installation has in place various parking spaces and areas that are not in the flow of PT activities. Those areas include a parking lot closest to the Freedom Barracks Complex and open parking at the top of the hill near the Mullins Field track.

There are legal ways to secure vehicles without adversely impacting service members and civilians as they work their physical fitness routines.

“We want people to recognize the safety element of this issue,” Schismenos said. “Behavior in that respect must change to honor and respect the legal requirements for using approved parking spaces and areas when using facilities on Fort Meade.”

Schismenos said illegal parking poses a danger to pedestrians and motorists alike.

The parking lot along Taylor Avenue contains many open parking spots during early morning PT, while vehicles are parked illegally along Broadfoot Road, a one-lane street. (Photo by Nicole Munchel)

“Illegally parked vehicles are a danger to pedestrians and motorists on the roadways.” he said. “Imagine how you would feel if your illegally parked vehicle was the cause of a serious injury traffic collision.

“The decision you made to illegally park because you didn’t want to walk further to get to the unit PT or the gym will follow you for the rest of your life. Be smart and park legally.”

For detailed information on installation parking policy, go to http://www.ftmeade.army.mil/policies/POLICY055.pdf.

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