Air Force, local leaders address traffic safety around Plant 42

The city of Palmdale city manager, J.J. Murphy, provides his remarks during a meeting between Plant 42 leaders, city officials, local government, and mission partners discussing traffic safety around the facility at Plant 42 in Palmdale, California, June 30. (Air Force photo by Giancarlo Casem)

The city of Palmdale city manager, J.J. Murphy, provides his remarks during a meeting between Plant 42 leaders, city officials, local government, and mission partners discussing traffic safety around the facility at Plant 42 in Palmdale, California, June 30. (Air Force photo by Giancarlo Casem)

Captain Ronald Shaffer, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Palmdale Station commander, talks to Dr. David Smith, Plant 42 director, during a special meeting to discuss traffic safety at Plant 42 in Palmdale, California, June 30. (Air Force photo by Giancarlo Casem)

Captain Ronald Shaffer, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Palmdale Station commander, talks to Dr. David Smith, Plant 42 director, during a special meeting to discuss traffic safety at Plant 42 in Palmdale, California, June 30. (Air Force photo by Giancarlo Casem)

Dr. David Smith, Plant 42 director, provides opening remarks during a meeting between local civic leaders to discuss traffic safety around Plant 42 in Palmdale, California, June 30. (Air Force photo by Giancarlo Casem)

Dr. David Smith, Plant 42 director, provides opening remarks during a meeting between local civic leaders to discuss traffic safety around Plant 42 in Palmdale, California, June 30. (Air Force photo by Giancarlo Casem)

PALMDALE, California --

Operating Location Plant 42 hosted local civic leaders, law enforcement and mission partners to address traffic safety around the facility in Palmdale, California, June 30.

The meeting was organized by Dr. David Smith, Plant 42 director, who sees fatalities, motor vehicle accidents and traffic delays as problematic concern that impacts all of Plant 42 personnel to include active duty Airmen, mission partner personnel, civilians and their families.

“We've got to work together to build the best possible systems and here at Planet 42, I'm absolutely humbled to be the director,” Smith said. “My ultimate job is to set conditions for success for you all that are delivering combat capability to this great nation.”

Smith explained that besides the loss of human life, a possible outcome of the traffic issues around Plant 42 could be the loss of human capital. Those issues, if left unchecked, could lead to a reduction in attracting career candidates to the Antelope Valley, also referred to as the Aerospace Valley.

“What we can't allow to happen is that critical human capital to be cast aside and wasted to a motor vehicle accident. And that's a huge risk that we're experiencing right now,” he said.

Those in attendance included representatives from the major support partners: Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Boeing and NASA. Also present were city planners for Palmdale and Lancaster, members of the AV Edge transportation committee, the commander LA County Sherriff’s Department Palmdale Station, and representatives from Congressman Mike Garcia’s office.

“Smart people in the room collaborating with the expertise we have from LA County Sheriff with representatives from our political sector with folks from AV Edge transportation committee that can look at this holistically and see what it is we can do to improve safety,” Smith added. “It's also tantamount to throughput and capacity. I need people to get work. And I need people to get to work safely.”

Smith said the goal of the meeting is to open up an avenue for collaboration between all the agencies and entities involved. At the end of the meeting, everyone in attendance identified key intersections and parts of roadways that were considered problem spots for accidents, Sierra Highway and Avenue M for example, and possible solutions, some of which, like road improvements, are already underway. The group then agreed to further work together to identify other solutions and find ways to prioritize them to complete them even sooner.