3 in 30 - 2001.06.10 Sunday
The railroad companies in the U.S. of the middle 1800s knew that if they built tracks across the vast empty areas of the central plains, people would soon settle near the tracks. The rail companies in Japan are no different. This two lane access road parallels the Ome line about a kilometer east of the Haijima station.
The apartments on the left have been here since before we moved to the area, but the building in the middle of the picture was built while we have lived here. On the north side of the tracks—just outside of our Matsubara-cho neighborhood—are the grounds of an old factory. The buildings seem to be about the same age as the oldest of the buildings on the air base, so there may have been a connection between this factory area and the time when Yokota was a Japanese air base. The water tower is part of the factory complex.
The apartment building (above) has covered parking areas near the street for tenants’ bicycles. There is much less parking available for automobiles.
Even though there is sign posted at the right of the picture, explicitly saying that there is No Parking, four or five cars and vans are parked in this access area. You can see the “No Parking’ flyers posted on their windshields.
Parking tickets given out by the police tend to be relatively costly. We know of a number of friends who have parked in posted zones and received tickets. The fine for illegal parking in our outlying area runs about $500. In downtown Tokyo, I'm sure that the fines can run much higher. We were temporarily blocked from getting into our driveway a month ago and parked out on the street. Not a parking area. An hour and a half later, a neighbor came running, telling us to move our car. The police were out giving tickets. You better believe we moved fast to correct our mistake.
This construction project was started at a time when Candy was going to school at a later time in the morning, and it was convenient for us to enter the base by the entrance at the south. We would cross the tracks at the crossing visible in the middle of the picture. This crossing is about 100 meters from the existing underpass beneath the Hachiko line. In this case, the train line rises above the normal ground level.
About five or six years ago, a project was begun to create an underpass beneath the train tracks. First, extra property was purchased and buildings cleared out. Then for a year or so, it seemed that only construction barriers were up. Then, the slow process of digging out entrances on both sides of the tracks began. In the meantime, traffic is slowly being re-routed around the current construction areas.
This shot is about the same distance from the tracks as the road above. What you see here is the cast concrete top of the tunnel. About two meters above this concrete will be another road, a continuation of the one above. It will be convenient for drivers, and will probably bring additional traffic to the area.