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Car Culture

Now That’s a Done Deal: Burbank Removes Street Parking for Road Expansion

8:59 AM PDT on July 29, 2009

7_29_09_victory.jpgThe corner of Victory and Alameda in Burbank. Photo: BikerScooby/Flickr

CBS News reports (with video) that business owners along Victory Boulevard in Burbank opened their shops on Monday morning to a bad surprise.  The curb in front of their stores was painted red, as the city had banned street parking for several blocks to increase the boulevard's capacity for left hand turns.  The city gave shop owners less than 24 hours notice before removing the parking, in possible violation of a recent Los Angeles County Superior Court Ruling, causing an outcry from an already struggling business community.

In May of 2008, when the debate over the fate of the Mayor's Pico-Olympic Plan was at its hottest, a Superior Court Judge ruled that the City of Los Angeles needed to do an environmental study of the effects on eliminating street parking before moving forward with the plan to increase capacity on the two thru-fares at rush hour.  The judge specifically noted the poor public outreach done by LADOT and the City, an outreach campaign that looks like a model for good government next to Burbank's.

Somewhere, Jack Weiss, the former Council Member who was the sole backer in that legislative body for the Mayor's Pico-Olympic Plan, has to be wondering why he didn't think of just repainting the roads and seeing what happened.  Shocked that removing parking could cause such an outcry, the city engineer has already admitted that the public outreach "could have been better" and the City Council is already working on fixes.  I guess the City of Burbank's traffic engineering department doesn't have access to the Internet or any other way to do ten minutes of research to see how similar plans have fared in the past.

Don't worry, Streetsblog hasn't suddenly become an advocate for free street parking for the sake of businesses, but to ignore the impact that removing parking can have to basically, do it and say "deal with it," is bad policy no matter how you slice it.  Yes, I would write the same thing if they had taken the parking to put in bike lanes and not add vehicular travel capacity.

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