[EDITORIALS]Parking Woes Not Dealt WithTwo-thirds of the money in 25 district offices, or gus, in Seoul, money specially aimed at building parking lots, reportedly has been going unused, disgracing the government policy to reinforce regulations on parking violations. According to data revealed by an opposition party lawmaker, district offices in Seoul formed special accounts with money raised from parking violation fines since 1990. The accumulated money reached 431.8 billion won ($330 million) at the end of last year. Yet only 152.7 billion won from the accounts was reportedly spent to build parking facilities and to cover administrative expenses such as enforcing parking regulations. The rest of 279.1 billion won was left idle.
In residential districts in Seoul, only 48 percent of residents are guaranteed parking spaces. Therefore, parking wars often began in residential districts every evening; some of those wars even caused fistfights. It is deploring that local self-autonomous bodies neglected their responsibilities to build parking lots despite the obvious need for them. The district offices explained that it was difficult to find available sites for parking lots and residents around the possible sites strongly protested construction. However, such excuses are unacceptable for ignoring responsibilities. We have not yet heard about a single incident in which a district office has thoroughly explained to its residents why it has to build parking lots.
In order to reinforce enforcement of regulations on parking violations in major cities, the central government increased the number of public servants by more than 10 times by revising the enforcement decree of the Road Traffic Act. Yet as more and more residents strongly complained about such a move, the Seoul Metropolitan Government only rigidly enforced it in some areas vulnerable to fire. In addition, the city government postponed the starting date of regulating unlawful parking for three months, from the end of June to Oct. 1.
At this point, local governments should persuade residents to build parking facilities in all sizes. The government should also consider a proposal to provide incentives such as tax benefits to schools, malls and office buildings if they open their parking lots to public at night.