New traffic routes safer for children Published Dec. 12, 2007 By Tech. Sgt. Rey Ramon 18th Wing Public Affairs KADENA AB, Japan -- Drivers traveling on Beeson Street here will notice significant changes starting Jan. 7 as Department of Defense Dependent Schools and 18th Wing officials work at decongesting the area to make it safer for school children. Parking will not be authorized on Beeson, as the street will have unrestricted traffic flow to allow more space for student pick-up and drop-off. School buses will load and unload in the loop in front of Amelia Earhart Intermediate School and Bob Hope Primary School. Parental traffic in this area will not be allowed. "We want to decrease potential mishaps involving children that attend the schools," said Bert Stamm, 18th WG ground safety manager. "This has been a long process in trying to eliminate hazards for our children." This new initiative is the result of a committee that met to resolve the congestion in the area, said Mr. Stamm. This committee consisted of traffic engineers, wing safety, security forces, school liaisons, and base leadership. Lydia Beatty, 18th Mission Support Group, DoDDS liaison, said the schools and the wing have been working together to resolve the on-going issue of drivers not complying with traffic signs on Beeson Street, where more than 1,300 students walk to and from the schools each day. This makes it an important safety issue. "This is safer for our children and also puts us in compliance with Department of Defense Education Activity regulations," said Mrs. Beatty. The regulation states that "privately owned vehicles shall not be allowed to operate within or through the designated bus loading and unloading zones at schools when buses are present for loading and/or unloading passengers." Using Beeson allows unrestricted access and places bus riders in a more secure environment, said Mrs. Beatty. Another change under the new plan will be visitor parking, which will be designated in front of BHPS and in the parking lot next to the officer's club. Additionally, there will be parking for kindergarten parents to take their children to their teachers. "We hope these changes will give parents peace of mind that their children are safe in the school zone, relieve stress of school administrators and create a more user-friendly school zone for our parents and community," said Mrs. Beatty. The 18th Civil Engineer Squadron will make the necessary changes during the winter school break, said Mrs. Beatty. This will include changes to signs around the school, parking spaces and curb markings.