Peace has returned to Magnolia Park after a bitter parking dispute rocked the trendy shopping and eating section of Burbank. Last summer the parking problems along the north side of the 3400 block of Magnolia Boulevard blew-up into a major conflict. The majority of the merchants on the block complained their businesses were being hurt by the clients of coffee shop/cafe, Romancing the Bean, who were camping out for hours in the parking spaces in front of their stores. The solution they asked for — a change from two hours to one hour parking along their stretch of Magnolia Boulevard and tougher enforcement of parking limits by Burbank Police.
Apparently the owner of the “Bean,” Kerry Krull, and some of her supporters, viewed the complaints as a personal attack and they fought back with ugly allegations, bullying, and threats. Well that was weeks ago before attempts by several individuals to broker a peace and the temporary installation of a one hour parking limit on the north side of the 3400 block of West Magnolia Boulevard took effect. Last September, the Burbank Traffic Commission voted to give the one hour parking limit a 60-day trial.
In November, Bryce DeVincenzi, secretary of the Magnolia Park Merchants Association, circulated a survey on behalf of the association’s board members. The survey asked the merchants on the north side of the 3400 block of Magnolia if they supported the one hour parking limit. Eleven of the 13 merchants signed the document — including the “Beans” Kerry Krull — who apparently had a change of heart. Perhaps, Krull finally realized the one hour parking limit is a plus because it increases turnover for all the stores and shops including her own restaurant. Or maybe Krull decided it was bad PR to fight something that the majority of her neighbor merchants strongly felt was necessary for their businesses to survive.
Then last month, that one hour parking limit on the 3400 block of Magnolia was reviewed at the Burbank Traffic Commission meeting. No one voiced an objection to making the one hour parking limit permanent. Burbank traffic engineer, Ken Johnson, gave a brief summary of recent data in a staff report, which showed the one hour parking limit was working and recommended it remain.
The six traffic commissioners, Joseph Terranova, Linda Barnes, Rebecca Granite-Johnson, Kevin Harrop, Vanessa Rachal, and Robin Gemmill, voted unanimously to accept the recommendation of staff on go on the record in support of the one hour parking limit going from temporary to permanent status.
Over the weekend, I spoke with a merchant involved in the dispute, Ralph Persinger of Burbank Anitques. Persinger was very vocal in his support of changing the parking limit from two hours to one hour. Now, he says the situation is much improved. In fact, Persinger says last December was the “best month ever” for his shop since it opened five years ago. Persinger credits the new one-hour parking limit with helping make that happen.