Progress is being made in that bitter parking dispute among some merchants on Magnolia Boulevard in the Magnolia Park area of Burbank. The two-hour parking signs were replaced by one-hour signs on the north side of the 3400 block of Magnolia last Friday. When I dropped by the block the day after, Burbank Antiques owner, Ralph Persinger, told me visitors are following the new parking restrictions: “It’s great! We’re getting a lot of turnover.”
The one-hour parking signs are controversial. For the past several months, the majority of the merchants on the north side of Magnolia have been fighting for the one-hour restriction as part of a solution to a parking issue related to Romancing the Bean. The coffee-house/cafe ,3413 West Magnolia Boulevard, got permits to open WITHOUT providing any parking for its customers. The other merchants have complained some of the Bean customers were parking in front of their shops for much longer than the two hours allowed, especially after the eatery began offering free WiFi. The owner of the Bean, Kerry Krull, fought back with denial, accusations, and even a nasty cease and desist letter to some of her neighbor stores.
On September 18, the Burbank Traffic Commission approved a 60-day test for the one-hour parking signs. The commission reportedly will provide some recommendations to the city council to solve a number of parking problems in this section of Magnolia Boulevard. The 60-day test moved forward with Burbank Police Traffic Bureau notifying merchants of the change on September 25. The next morning the one-hour signs went up, but then were quickly taken down by the order of city manager, Mark Scott.
A major blunder and one that caused an uproar. Scott apologized for what appears to have been a miscommunication at city hall. Scott apparently wanted merchants on both sides of the 3400 block notified before the one-hour signs went up. So city officials had to back-up, make the notifications again and then post the new one-hour signs again on October 10.
There’s another sign that progress is being made in this parking dispute. On my walk along the sidewalk of the north side of the 3400 block of Magnolia last Saturday, I noticed a new posting on the front of the Bean that says “After careful consideration and being mindful of our Neighbors concerns,” Internet services between noon and 3 p.m. would no longer be available. Krull appears to be demonstrating a willingness to work with her neighbors in resolving parking problems. That’s definitely a good sign. However, city officials need to look beyond the Bean.
As the stretch of Magnolia Boulevard between Hollywood Way and Buena Vista continues to grow and develop into a trendy spot to visit, it will attract other eateries. The Bean’s parking snafu should not become a precedent. The city council should take steps to correct the flawed or outdated ordinance or the code loophole, which allowed the Bean to open without adequate parking for its customers. Let’s not have a repeat of this ugly dispute.