Wright Patterson Air Force Base gate 1B off Springfield Street has been open temporarily for limited hours in a new trial run this week, and if comments from Facebook users are an indication, the move is welcome.
“This definitely cuts back the miles and time to and from work, please keep it open permanently,” Facebook user Todd Finley said on the Facebook page for the 88th Air Base Wing, the unit responsible for security and infrastructure on the sprawling Air Force base.
When one user, Pam Sutton, inquired about the possibility of opening gate 1B permanently, a wing representative replied on Facebook: “The usages during this time period will assist in assessing that question. We will keep you posted.”
Gate 1B — off Springfield Street, leading to the base’s Area B, east of the gate leading to the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force — was temporarily open with limited hours Tuesday. It was to be open for the same hours Wednesday and Thursday, the base has said.
On those three days only, the gate is open 6:30 to 8:30 a.m. for inbound and outbound traffic and 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. for outbound traffic only. Vehicles and bicycles are authorized to utilize the gate in those hours.
During bike-to-work days, base employees may bike through other gates, as well.
Gate 1B has been closed since early in the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Area B employees now enter through gate 19B off National Road.
Wright-Patterson is a large military installation, with about 35,000 military and civilian employees, the largest concentration of employment in one locale in the state of Ohio. That makes traffic an issue.
The base has two main areas, named “A” and “B,” bisected by Ohio 444. Gate 1B has been typically closed in the past three years. Employees use 19B to enter that area, and motorists can also use 22B from Interstate 675. Area A has four active gates.
Some Area B employees are evidently crossing their fingers that traffic during this trial will justify opening the gate permanently.
Justin Clough and Rachel Kinard counted three pedestrians, 79 bicyclists, three motorcycle riders and 264 motorists entering the newly opened gate 1B Tuesday morning, they said at the gate Tuesday afternoon.
Bike and pedestrian numbers were similar Wednesday morning, but motor vehicle traffic rose by about 25%, Clough said.
“This is just very much a test situation,” said Kinard, a research mathematician for the Air Force Research Laboratory, who works on Area B. “They’re really just trying to do a study and see how things go.”
Asked about the base’s plans, a spokesman for the 88th Air Base Wing asked that questions from the Dayton Daily News be submitted in writing.
“Please open this gate daily. It’s so much more convenient, " Facebook user Fawn Confer Green said in a comment on the wing’s Facebook page, referring to gate 1B.
“Would love it if this gate stayed open during the work day,” Kevin Rusnak said on Facebook.
“So beneficial having this gate open,” Facebook user Bill Hart said. “Even if it’s only for those limited hours. I get tired of sitting on National (Road) waiting for the 2 lanes to process the 40+ cars almost daily.”
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