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A four-way stop, impeding bushes and a limited lighting during the morning hours make this intersection a dangerous one for users of the new running trail aboard Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif. At Miramar Way and Schilt Avenue, these obstacles make it so that runners need to take extra care when crossing it to ensure they are visible to drivers.

Photo by Cpl. Melissa Wenger

Heads up: Miramar running trail crosses risky intersection

1 May 2013 | Cpl. Melissa Wenger 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing

A four-way stop sign, misplaced shrubbery and a crosswalk that is 15 to 20 feet behind the intersection all spell trouble for runners on Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif.

The new running trail along Miramar Way keeps runners off the streets and sidewalks and at a generally safe distance from traffic. However, where the trail crosses Schilt Avenue at Miramar Way, it can pose a serious obstacle for runners. During peak hours, the intersection can become quite congested.

“[Traffic] starts going right around 6 a.m.,” said Lt. Col. James Traver, MCAS Miramar director of safety and standardization and a Poughkeepsie, N.Y., native. “When do people run on base? About 6:30 to 7:30 a.m., so that’s the area we’re really concerned about.”

Runners need to be on high alert when approaching the crosswalk in order to mitigate that danger.

 “For sure, the runners have to stop as they get ready to cross that intersection because the cars that are on Miramar Way are focused on that intersection since it’s a four-way stop,” said Traver. “The intersection itself is complex enough without runners being there, so we need the runners to be responsible too. The runners have to assume that the cars don’t see you and by the time they do see you, they’re not going to be able to stop before the intersection.”

The station safety department has already removed a large sign that was obstructing the view of drivers turning onto Schilt Avenue, but according to Traver, the other factors limiting visibility won’t be as simple.

“We’ll talk about some of the options that can address the hazards additionally, such as removing those bushes, but that’s going to take a little time,” he said. “The sign is already gone because that was an easy fix, but the bushes getting dug up or if we’re going to move where the actual intersection occurs, that’s going to take a little bit of time.”

Members of the station community can call Station Safety at 858-577-1360 with any suggestions for how to make the Schilt Avenue and Miramar Way intersection a safer one. In the mean time, runners must be diligent.

 “The design of the intersection, the frequency of traffic … and some of the obstacles around it, make that one just above and beyond where we think is a perfectly safe threshold,” said Traver. “If they see this, they’ll hopefully go, ‘I know that intersection is coming up, so I’m going to take an extra [minute], look left and look right before I go ahead and cross that intersection because I know there’s a lot of hazards associated with it.”