Despite sharp criticism this week from City Council members,
Burbank-Glendale-Pas- adena Airport officials maintain that foot
traffic from a privately owned parking lot creates safety and
liability problems, and say they have no plans to accommodate
pedestrians in the area.
Since Star Park opened in January, airport officials have closed a
crosswalk leading from the lot to Terminal B and have put up
no-crossing signs. In March, airport police began issuing $90 tickets
to violators, but stopped doing so after a judge ruled June 9 that
the airport did not have the authority to enforce the regulation.
This past weekend, airport officials erected a fence across the
section of the access road where pedestrians were crossing. As a
result, they also redirected traffic moving along the airport loop.
Airport Authority Executive Director Dios Marrero and Commissioner
Don Brown justified the need for the fence at Tuesday’s council
meeting. To illustrate their point, they showed video footage of
people wandering from Star Park and other nearby locations in various
directions across the airport access roads.
“Whether it’s an imperfect solution or not, the fence eliminates
the citations and hopefully eliminates people violating our rules and
regulations,” Marrero told the council.
Mayor Stacey Murphy and Councilman Dave Golonski rejected the idea
that the crossing dispute was the result of safety concerns.
“I’m friends with both of you, I like both of you, but I’m
disgusted,” Murphy told Brown and Marrero. “It’s disingenuous to say
this has anything to do with anything except a war over finances.”
Despite the criticism, Brown said airport officials have no plans
to remove the fence. He said if a plan was devised that would allow
pedestrians to cross safely, he would support it, but until then he
thinks the fence is the best option.
“I can understand the public’s perception of this,” he said.
“There is an economic issue because the airport derives a lot of
money from parking. But that’s not what’s driving us -- it’s public
While the airport continues to negotiate with Zelman Development
Co. to operate the lot, Brown said if that happened, the airport
still would not allow customers to cross at the location.
Though voicing her displeasure with the airport’s actions, Murphy
said the city views the situation as a legal dispute between Zelman
and the airport, and has no intention of becoming involved.
Zelman Vice President Paul Casey said company officials are hoping
to get the fence removed as part of a lawsuit dealing with many
issues about their access to the airport.
“The judge decided for the term of the litigation he would not
restrict them from removing the crosswalk and blocking the crossing,
but that was not his final decision,” Casey said.