Osan rules of the road

OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Whether you are authorized to drive a privately owned vehicle or a government motor vehicle during your assignment to Osan Air Base, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to surmise available parking on Osan is a hot commodity.

At Osan, there's just over 6,000 parking spaces scattered throughout the base including common use areas, living quarters and work areas, and there are more than 5,000 GMVs and POVs registered and in-use by Team Osan personnel including U.S. and Korean civilian employees. These numbers do not include those registered and in-use by the Republic of Korea Air Force personnel collocated on Osan or the miscellaneous traffic from invited guests to construction vehicles.

While many drivers converse about not being able to find a parking when they need one, no one on Osan feels the brunt of parking frustrations more than the 51st Security Forces Squadron defenders who patrol the streets. In 2006 alone, more than 600 parking tickets have been issued and according the defenders, they do not have a quota to fill, they're just doing their jobs.

"Parking violations are the No. 1 infraction we cite motorists for at Osan," said Master Sgt. Marvin Marquez, 51st SFS police services. "Even with the increased restrictions on who can operate a POV, parking is still hard to come by. To help cut down on the congestion and reduce the number of tickets, we encourage everyone to carpool as much as possible, ride a bicycle, or walk to wherever they have to go."

Parking hot spots

Of the 600-plus citations issued, Mr. Anthony Montgomery from 51st SFS reports and analysis said most were issued at the upper and lower level parking lots between the AAFES Mall and Checkertails Restaurant. A majority of these tickets are for drivers who violate the 1 and 2-hour parking limit. The other hot spot is the parking lot adjacent to the 51st Fighter Wing headquarters building where drivers make their own parking spots.

"Parking is authorized only in lined parking spaces only," said Master Sgt. Marquez. "If need be, drivers need to look for parking further away from where they're going, and walk the rest of the way versus parking illegally, being cited, or even worse, having their vehicle towed."

Government motor vehicle misuse

At a glance, here are a couple common misuses of GMVs. Personal business: driving to the AAFES Mall, commissary, clubs, bowling alley, fitness center, or any other AAFES facility. Unit snack bar: using a GMV to procure and transport goods from the AAFES Mall or commissary for unit snack bars or lounges. Personal transportation: using a GMV to pick up or drop off passengers at any AAFES facility, fitness center, post office or dormitory.

Who can drive

On-base/off-base driving privileges may be extended by the 51st Mission Support Group commander to military servicemembers, civilian employees and contractors, family members, provided they meet the requirements, have the proper paperwork and have completed required driving tests or safety programs necessary including motorcycles and mopeds.