Berkeley Diary


Jun/15/2005  My Findings of Word Lag(6) One-Way VS. Ippo Tsuko

      In the first week that I came to Berkeley from Japan, I stayed in the Hotel Durant located along Durant Avenue. This street is very wide with five lanes. Both sides of the street are used as parking areas, and cars run on the three center lanes. It was a strange scene for me, because all the cars ran in the same direction. I could see a road sign. Looking from the hotel, it indicated with a right-ward pointing arrow and a phrase that the street, though it has five lanes, is "ONE WAY." This street is eastbound. The next street north is Bancroft Way, also a one-way street with four lanes. However, this street is westbound. Likewise, parallel to Bancroft and further south of the campus, Haste Street is westbound and Dwight Way is eastbound. The Downtown Berkeley grid is the same as that of my hometown Kyoto City.

      In Japan, there are also many one-way streets. We call them "ippo tsuko" (=one direction passage) in Japanese. But most one-way streets in Japan are narrow with only one lane. In my town, Hachioji, there are many narrow streets. Most of them are one-way. Because Hachioji is lacated in a hilly region, the streets are narrow and bent. When driving, we have to take care which streets are one-way. Otherwise, we will end up going in the wrong direction against our will.

      In Downtown Berkeley, Durant Avenue, Bancroft Way, and other streets are wide and straight. I didn't know the reason why they are one-way. Recently I found a website which explains the reason why the nation created one-way streets in downtown. Acording to the website, the target is safety and rationality based on city planning as follows (summary):

       One-way streets have the advantage that pedestrians and drivers need only look one way when watching for traffic. And one-way streets also permit higher average speeds because signals on a one-way grid can be synchronized to allow drivers in all directions to proceed indefinitely at a fixed rate of speed. A semblance of synchronization can be approached on a two-way grid only if signals are more than a half-mile apart, and even then it is less than perfect. Traffic on two-way streets, for example, is often delayed by special left-turn signals, which aren't needed on one-way grids. Faster speeds on signal-synchronized one-way streets increased road capacities without laying more pavement. Since the increase is in the average rate of speed, not the top speed, increased speeds pose no loss in safety. One-way streets not only have greater capacity than two-way streets, they save the space that two-way streets require for left-turn lanes.

        I think the word "one-way" is very simple and convenient. It is easier to recognize on the road for citizens than the Japanese term "ippo tsuko." Japanese people often say "ittsu" in abbreviation. The word is convenient, but informal. In English, we call ordinary two-direction streets "two-way." But in Japanese we don't say "niho tsuko." I think the phrase "ippo tsuko" is inconvenient.


To: Soka University HP (English)
To: Department of the Japanese Language and Literature HP
To: Masaki YAMAOKA's HP: Index