A judge has ruled the Burbank-Glendale- Pasadena Airport did not have
the authority to restrict pedestrian access from a privately owned
parking lot and issue citations to violators.
Monday’s ruling in Burbank Superior Court by Judge Pro Tempore
Andrew R. Cervik prompted airport police to stop issuing citations
for the time being, airport spokesman Victor Gill said.
The case was brought to court by two Southwest Airlines employees
and one traveler who received $90 tickets for crossing the airport
access road to an area near Star Park. After the private lot opened
in January, airport officials removed a crosswalk leading from the
lot to Terminal B, erected signs saying it is illegal for pedestrians
to cross and issued citations to 120 people for doing so.
Al Augustini, who represents Star Park owner Zelman Development
Co., represented the defendants. Augustini received a similar ticket
and planned to argue on his own behalf as well, but said he received
a fax from airport officials Friday, saying his case was dismissed.
After hearing arguments by Augustini and the testimony of Airport
Police Officer Anthony Snow, Judge Pro Tempore Andrew R. Cervik ruled
that the airport did not constitute a local authority that could
erect and enforce signs as defined in the vehicle code.
“It appears to me the authority had the right to remove the
crosswalk, but they did not have the right to put up no-crossing
signs,” Cervik said.
Cervik threw out the tickets given to two Southwest Airlines
employees, saying no violation of the vehicle code occurred. Airport
Police agreed to drop the citation against the third defendant.
Airport Security Chief Mike Post and spokesman Victor Gill
attended the hearing, but did not speak in court on the airport’s
Since the ruling, airport police have stopped issuing citations to
those who cross the airport access road in the disputed area, Gill
said. It has yet to be determined whether officers will appear in
court for those people who challenge the tickets.
Gill added that airport officials believe they did have the right
to erect the signs and are considering legal action to articulate
“The airport put those signs in place with the advice of legal
counsel,” he said.
While he said the Airport Authority could attempt to issue
citations for some other type of vehicle code violation, Augustini
believes Monday’s ruling is the end of tickets for Star Park
“I’m very pleased to see a nice, clear ruling that these signs are
illegal,” he said.
Luis Aguilar, one of the Southwest employees whose ticket was
thrown out, said he has crossed at the disputed corner for seven
years. In addition to his citation, he said airport employees were
recently notified that the Airport Authority might take away their
security badges if they were caught using the crosswalk.