By Sgt. Im Jin-min (USAG-Yongsan)August 7, 2008
YONGSAN GARRISON, Republic of Korea - Yongsan drivers soon may not have to drive around a parking lot three or four times to grab a space as Garrison Public Works officials continue carrying out a plan to add more than 250 parking spaces on post.
"It was deemed necessary to expand the number of parking spaces throughout Yongsan when we learned of the plan to increase the number of command-sponsored positions in Korea," said Lee Young-i, Public Works engineering division chief. "There was already a shortage of parking spaces due to the number of authorized privately-owned vehicles."
Since last year, officials have continued to look for innovative ways to change extra space into productive parking spots.
So far, 75 parking spaces have been added to South Post Chapel, South Post Visitor's Center Gate and the new track field on South Post.
By the end of August, the 250 new parking spaces in 10 different areas should be completed, Lee said.
"The plan targets hot spots where Servicemembers frequent most," said Bryan Dorrough, construction inspection branch chief. "If you go there, you will see that they are always full. People either have to drive around in circles to try to find a parking space, or park in an unauthorized area."
Work is now underway in the Main Exchange area for two new parking lots, which will add nearly 70 new spaces.
An additional parking lot for 25 spaces will be built near the mail and distribution center in Bldg. 1416.
"The sites used to be bare grounds where old equipment and vehicles were stored," said Cho Hyo-hwan, construction inspector.
In addition, 24 spaces in front of the PX will be repaired and repainted. When completed, the area will have 93 paved parking spaces.
On South Post, the pavilion at Hammond Sports Field and the surrounding picnic area were leveled three weeks ago to make way for 51 new spots.
A one-way exit lane along the perimeter fence will connect the parking lot to the street between Collier Field House and the soccer field.
Besides new parking spaces, the project includes a plan to modify the current Seoul American Elementary School drop-off area and add another one to X Corps Blvd.
"The number of students is expected to rise with the increase of command-sponsored positions, and we thought we should be prepared." Cho said. "Our goal is to finish the drop-off zones before school starts."
There may be some disruption of traffic along that lane of the road, "but we expect it to be minimal and be over" before school starts, Dorrough said.
Some delays may occur because of rains, Dorrough said, but once completed, the additional space will help alleviate some of the parking strain.
"This will be a welcome relief for all drivers on Yongsan," he said. "Some of the newcomers will fully benefit from these improvements."