Story and photo by MC2(SW/AW) John Smolinski, CFAY Public Affairs
Commander Fleet Activities, Yokosuka (CFAY) Traffic Safety Division is installing new traffic signs in the vicinity of Sullivans Elementary School, Yokosuka Middle School, Nile C. Kinnick High School and other areas in an effort to clearly define school zone designations and increase safety here.
In addition to installing all new school zone and stop signs, the speed limit throughout the base will also be adjusted in some areas. All speed limits that were marked at 15 kilometers per hour (kph), including those within school zones, will go up to 20 kph. All speed limits that were marked 25 kph will go up to 30 kph. For drivers who are more accustomed to miles per hour (mph), 15 kph is equal to 9.3 mph, and 20 kph is equal to 12.4 mph. “The main reason for the speed limit change is to bring it up-to-date with the Department of Transportation’s manual on uniform traffic control and device,” said Mike Kretschmer, CFAY traffic safety officer. “The speed limit increase is not to let people speed, but to better accommodate the driver’s ability to see the actual speed they are traveling at…cars that operate in kilometers per hour are marked on even increments like 10, 20, 30, 40.” The changes being made to the school zone signs are designed to help clearly mark the beginning and the end of school zones. “We are also changing the big yellow school crossing signs that most American drivers are familiar with to the blue school crossing signs that are used here in Japan,” he said. Also, a new 3-way stop has been installed at two different locations. One located at the intersection of Duncan Street and 1st Avenue near the commissary and Sullivans Elementary School, and the other located at 3rd and 4th Avenues, near Yokosuka Middle School. These updates are not limited to just the main base at Yokosuka. The CFAY housing detachments at Negishi and Ikego will also have their speed limit and school zone signs updated. The work for these changes is projected to be completed by the end of July. “Keep in mind that safety is important and that driving is a full-time responsibility,” Kretschmer said. “Look for these changes to be coming soon and adjust accordingly.”