Parking spaces opening up at Yongsan
Stars and Stripes June 27, 2003
YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — It should be getting easier to find a parking space on post.
Directorate of Public Works officials this week are taking down unauthorized reserved parking signs, freeing up more spaces for post residents.
John Nowell, 34th Support Group public affairs officer, said he has already photographed between 60 and 70 unauthorized reserved parking stalls on the south and main posts to be opened to motorists.
At least one motorist is excited about the corrective action.
“I was thrilled,” Sgt. Keary Parinis said Wednesday after finding a parking stall near the Post Exchange. “It means more parking for me.”
The unauthorized spaces have been designated over several years. Regulations restrict designated spots for official and personal vehicles to battalion commanders, command sergeant majors and those of higher rank.
“You got company commanders and first sergeants who’ve got them,” Nowell said of reserved parking spaces. “It makes it impossible to park.”
An example is outside Nowell’s office.
Two spots there are reserved for the 34th Support Group chaplain, one each for a personal and an official vehicle.
Nowell said he has already requested public works take the reserved parking signs down.
That’s fine with Lt. Col. Tom Drake, 34th Support Group chaplain.
“It’s important for us to make sure all the soldiers have a place to park,” he said. “And if it just means we give up our space, I think that’s great.”
Drake has been in South Korea for about a week and his vehicle has yet to arrive, he said, adding he would have used the reserved parking if it remained.
Base residents struggle daily to find parking.
Sharlay Smith decided to park Wednesday in an area left of handicap spaces near the post office.
When confronted about parking in an area not designated for vehicles, she said, “there’s no excuse,” adding she was running to complete errands at the library and education center.
Smith isn’t the only one parking in non-designated areas.
Sgt. 1st Class Marlena Good said finding a parking space is “very difficult.” Like Smith, she parked in an area without any designated spaces.
“We’re starting to make our own spaces,” her companion, Staff Sgt. Lisa Gustave, added.
Yongsan’s parking policy has been on the books for years, but it hasn’t been enforced, Nowell said. Reserved parking spaces have to be approved by the Area II commander at the Law and Order office.
Official designated spaces are marked by white-lettered brown signs affixed to curbs or free- standing. There are also special parking signs for handicap and emergency vehicles.
In April, there were 14,400 vehicles registered on post, up from 12,400 authorized in July 2000, officials said.
According to the June 13 Morning Calm newspaper, 15,267 privately owned vehicles now are authorized to be in Area II, which encompasses U.S. military installations in the Seoul area.
Base officials said they do not know how many parking spaces are authorized in Area II.