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JBLM Officers Say Alleviating Traffic Gridlock Near Base Is 'Work In Progress'
Flkr Creative Commons
Traffic at JBLM gate.

Top brass from Joint Base Lewis McChordtook to Facebook this week to answer questions on everything from guns to traffic.

With some 52,000 people already connected to the military base via Facebook, JBLM spokesman Gary Dangerfield said a virtual town hall made a lot of sense as an efficient way to reach out.

“And get an idea of what the community’s thinking in terms of how they interact with the base and off the base,” Dangerfield said.

What they are thinking, if the questions posed are any indication, is about things like the availability of after-school child care at McChord,  staffing at Madigan Army Medical Center and why, even with a concealed-carry permit, you can’t bring your own gun onto the base.

But, one of the biggest concerns Facebook participants expressed was over traffic gridlock near the JBLM gates. A major cause of the slowdowns, according to Dangerfield, is the new system for checking identification cards of people entering the base.

“They have a new electronic system that allows them to thoroughly scan those cards and make sure that the right folks are getting on the base and the wrong folks are not getting on the base,” he said.

JBLM leaders, including officers from US Army I Corps, US Air Force 62nd Airlift Wing, JBLM Garrison Headquarters and Madigan Army Medical Center, told Facebook town hall participants they are working with state transportation officials to help alleviate traffic congestion near the base and that it's a "work in progress."

As for the question about not being able to carry a gun onto base, even with a concealed-weapons permit, Dangerfield says the policy at each base is at the discretion of each base commander and JBLM's commander has chosen not to allow them.

There was also a question about providing gun lockers at the JBLM gates, but top brass says it would simply be too difficult to provide enough space.

Paula is a former host, reporter and producer who retired from KNKX in 2021. She joined the station in 1989 as All Things Considered host and covered the Law and Justice beat for 15 years. Paula grew up in Idaho and, prior to KNKX, worked in public radio and television in Boise, San Francisco and upstate New York.