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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Seoul's parking - a visual tour

I think I'll do some photographic posts to ease me back into blogging here. Apologies for the lengthy silence.

Let's start with Seoul.

In the business districts, we find some Japanese style automated parking towers. 


The City Government has also been keen (in the past?) on parking under parks.

Parts of Seoul have an on-street residential parking permit system. Permits are issued by the local ward ('Gu') governments and give access to a shared row of permit-parking-only spaces, marked with a code. You can buy day, night or day+night permits. In this area, 3 months of day+night permit costs 40,000 won (US$35).



Seoul's 'green parking' policy is not what I assumed it would be. It involves removing the fences around houses to make some space for parking. The local government chips in with some funds and maybe even a little public space. So this policy is actually about increasing parking space in old residential areas. Hmm. As a side benefit it also purports to improve neighbourhood friendliness by removing high walls.
Seoul's 'green parking' policy at work.

The battle against nuisance parking has been heating up and resorting to CCTV enforcement in known parking trouble spots.

Seoul has an interesting relationship with priced parking.


On the one hand, Seoul's major business districts have parking maximums. This results in quite high prices and a thriving commercial parking industry there.

These areas coincide with the highest-price zone for on-street parking and public-sector off-street parking. On-street parking here costs 1000 Won per 10 minutes (US$0.90 or so - meaning $5.40 per hour).

On-street parking pricing in Seoul is via parking attendants who wield digital handhelds.


Surprisingly, there is a lot of free parking outside the major business districts.

Shopping centres mostly have priced parking but a large proportion of visitors are eligible for a validation, so most park for free in practice.

The ubiquitous free parking in Seoul is despite its high urban densities. Not surprisingly, there is extreme pressure on the existing parking supply in many areas.


Demand for the free parking exceeds supply in many areas. The pressure is such that double-parking has been institutionalised with markings in parking areas. Almost every car has a little label in the window, with the mobile phone number of the owner, so they can be contacted to move their car, having blocked another one in.


Many streets have parking in the frontage of the shops. Some of this creates an unpleasant walkway environment. This is similar to the scene in Indonesia or the Philippines.


For a comparative perspective on parking policy and conditions in Seoul, try "Parking Policy in Asian Cities".