March 20, 2021 08:33
Apartment car parks across the country are overcrowded as people worked from home or stayed in during lockdown.
In Seoul, for instance, 103.6 cars are competing for every 100 parking spaces, and the situation has worsened especially in older apartment complexes.
Choi Won-cheol (29), an office worker in Incheon, said, "When I get home after work I find myself driving around for 15 to 20 minutes in search of a parking space. I can tell that people are working from home because the same cars are always parked in the same space."
The curfew on restaurants and bars has also exacerbated the problem as people have nowhere to go in the evening. One 56-year-old resident of an apartment complex in Gimhae, South Gyeongsang Province, said, "I often find the parking lot in my apartment complex completely full when I come home around 8 p.m. I end up double-parking and leave home extra early the next day in case I block someone else's car."
Now it has become mandatory to set aside designated parking spaces for electric cars, the congestion is getting worse. Since 2016, apartment complexes with more than 500 units must set aside 0.5 percent of parking spaces for EVs, or one of every 200. In two years' time that will rise again to two percent.
Kim Soo-hwan (37), who lives in Daegu and drives an EV, said he has had to call owners of gasoline-powered cars because they parked in his space. "I asked the owner to move his car because I had to recharge, but he just asked me why I should get preferential treatment when we pay the same monthly fees."
And Kim Yoo-han (43) from Changwon, South Gyeongsang Province said, "There are four EV parking spaces in an apartment complex with 700 households, and it takes a long time to fully charge. When I come home late and find a gasoline car parked in an EV-only spot, I just let it go because I'm afraid of getting into fights with my neighbors."
Prof. Lee Ho-geun at Daelim University, said, "At present, the average four-person household owns 1.8 cars, but parking spaces are not designed according to those figures. We need to be more realistic in setting parking spaces aside and also enforce fines for parking in the wrong place."
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