[EDITORIALS]So Where Shall We Park, Then?

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[EDITORIALS]So Where Shall We Park, Then?

The government's plan to increase by 10 times the number of public workers authorized to issue parking tickets and stop cars is arousing controversy. The Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs argues that the number of local government traffic wardens is insufficient to control illegal parking. The ministry said it would grant fire fighters, park superintendents, street cleaners and municipal office workers authority to issue tickets.

Illegal parking is a serious social problem that should no longer be ignored. Parking in side alleys of residential areas is almost like a war. As the disastrous fire incidents in residential areas in Hongjae-dong of Seoul indicate, illegal parking in side alleys and traditional markets can often block access by fire trucks and lead to tragic accidents. So, strengthening supervision is justifiable.

But the fact is that there simply are not enough parking spaces for the number of vehicles, and just tightening the supervision of parking violations can be a problem in itself. In Seoul, parking capacity in residential areas is only 48 percent of the need, which means that half of the cars in residential areas in the capital are illegally parked. As cars become necessities in our lives, what should citizens do with their cars if the government mounts a strong attack on illegal parking? Such a program can only result in the mass production of lawbreakers and mounting discomfort and complaints from citizens. Though the campaign is necessary, it may not be the best solution to the problem.

The stronger regulation of illegal parking should be implemented step by step on behalf of citizens. For example, central areas needing heavy regulation and residential areas can be separated. Too, government needs to take the time to educate people about its new policy so that they can have time to prepare for stricter regulation.

In particular, the plan to expand the number of public workers who can sanction illegal parking needs to be carefully thought over. In a democratic society, the less control and regulation are imposed over people's lives, the better it would be. Superintendence and punishment can lead to conflicts with people.

It should also be considered that expanding the authority to issue parking tickets to lower-level public workers can be detrimental to the dignity of law enforcement and also to public trust.
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