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Parking in lots in crowded areas of Tinker, like Bldg. 3001, Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center headquarters, can be a challenge. There are projects planned to increase and improve parking. Until those projects are funded and complete, enforcement officials are asking drivers to keep their parking legal. (Air Force photo by Margo Wright)
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Tinker faces parking challenges

Posted 3/25/2011   Updated 3/25/2011 Email story   Print story

    


by Brandice J. O'Brien
Tinker Public Affairs


3/25/2011 - TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla.  -- To say parking in crowded lots at Tinker can be challenging is an understatement. In 2010, the 72nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs office received approximately 40 action lines complaining about parking. Many are in regards to parking at Bldg. 3001, the lack of spaces for people with disabilities and the distance from a parking lot to place of work.

While the 72nd Air Base Wing Civil Engineer Directorate is addressing the concerns and making plans, officials said there is no clear-cut immediate solution. Therefore, the answer may lie in alternatives, as long as they don't include illegal parking.

"Solving the parking issues on base is one of the many important objectives for the 72nd ABW/CE, but it will require funding of several projects from Air Force Materiel Command, which will take several years to accomplish," said Randon Rieger, Tinker Support Services Joint Venture engineering team lead with 72nd ABW/CE.

The majority of parking concerns surround Bldg. 3001. Mr. Rieger said there is a multi-phase plan on the shelf. The first phase, which will cost upwards of $5 million, is to repair and realign part of the main parking lot. Future phases will include the demolition some of our buildings in the area and the construction of parking. The cost of the entire plan is tens of millions of dollars and it will likely not be funded in the forseeable future.

Each year a list of several projects are submitted to AFMC Headquarters for funding consideration. While the Bldg. 3001 parking issue is a priority, there are more than 100 projects awaiting consideration.

Other areas on base that may be perceived as options present difficulties because there is a lot of space labeled as restricted due to airspace or environmental concerns.

Another common complaint is the lack of parking for people with disabilities. Yet, Mr. Rieger said Tinker has more of these parking spaces in each lot than what is required by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Additionally, civil engineering works with the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center to make sure the parking spaces meet the work force's needs.

Because parking is an issue that will likely not be solved overnight, Mr. Rieger suggested carpooling as an option and dissuaded illegal parking.

"We discourage parking in areas that are not designated for parking as these areas typically create unsafe situations," he said.

Not only could it pose a danger to drivers, it could also lead to a monetary fine of up to $75, suspension of base driving privileges or a citation.

Depending on how many citations a driver receives in a 12-month period, the individual could lose base driving privileges for up to a year. The exception is if a driver is caught parking in a handicap space without the proper placards. A first offense penalty is an immediate 30-day base driving suspension.

"We encourage your patience and innovative ideas in helping to be a part of the solution, not the problem,"Mr. Rieger said.



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