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Don’t walk this way to work

Laura Sturza

Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport employees are on notice not to

cross at a former crosswalk to get to the terminal from an adjacent

parking lot or it could cost them their jobs.

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"[We issued] a reminder to the airlines and employees that both

the airline and each individual employee agrees to follow all airport

rules,” Airport Authority spokesman Victor Gill said. “Access to the

restricted areas can be in jeopardy.”

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The Airport Authority, which governs the site of the former

crosswalk, would not be able to fire an airline employee for

crossing. But the Authority could deny an employee access to a

restricted area, making it tough to do their job, Southwest Airlines

spokesman Mike Munoz said.

The former crosswalk connects Star Park -- a private parking lot

-- to the terminal. With the crosswalk removed, customers must board

a shuttle that goes around the airport’s loop to a terminal that’s

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only a block away from the lot.

Airport officials, citing safety and liability concerns, removed

the crosswalk shortly after Star Park, which is owned by Zelman

Development Co., opened in January.

Airport police have issued more than 120 citations costing $90

each since they began ticketing for the offense March 12, Airport

Security Chief Mike Post said.

But pedestrians, including airline employees, continue to break

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the airport’s no-crossing rule.

“Everybody’s used to crossing there for the past 15 years,” said

Richard Gano, a spokesman for Transport Workers Union Local 555,

which represents Southwest Airlines employees. “Now it’s a four- to

five-minute walk or take a bus.”

Southwest, the airport’s largest carrier, received a warning from

the airport late last month in response to employees crossing

illegally. According to Gill, all airport carriers must follow the

same rules, and should be aware of them by reading signs posted at

the site of the former crosswalk, or through the Airline Affairs

Committee.

“We are making sure that employees are informed, so that they know

that [being fired] could be the worst case scenario, “Southwest

Airlines spokeswoman Whitney Eichinger said.

Not all airline employees park at Star Park. Employees who work

for American Airlines and America West Airlines park at an employee

lot and do not use the crosswalk. Alaska Airlines employees,

meanwhile, are expected to begin parking at Star Park later this

summer, a spokesman said.

Zelman officials, meanwhile, say the crosswalk ban was a

deliberate move to eliminate competition with airport-owned parking,

and the company is appealing court rulings that allowed the crosswalk

to be closed.

“They are trying to harass the employees and people trying to

cross there,” Zelman Vice President Paul Casey said.

Airport officials maintain that safety is their primary concern,

noting that the busy intersection is one where Post said “we issue

almost as many citations for vehicles running the stop sign.”


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