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Enough of this ‘safety’ fight

EDITORIAL

When it comes to their insistence that Star Park customers crossing

an access road to get to the airport terminal pose a safety and

liability hazard, we have two words for Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena

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Airport officials:

Lighten up.

The Airport Authority has taken what is essentially a

self-inflicted and self-perpetuated turf war about parking and money

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and tried to spin it into a public-safety issue. By contending that

Star Park customers are risking life and limb -- and the Authority’s

property liability insurance policy -- by cutting across the access

road to reach the terminal, the Authority is trying to divert

attention away from the real issue, which is that it wants people to

use the airport’s own parking, not Star Park.

Instead of taking on Star Park on its own terms by undercutting

the private operator’s parking prices -- something competitors in a

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typical business battle would do -- and leaving it at that, the

airport also has used a variety of tactics to drive business into its

own lots and away from Star Park.

First, airport workers removed the crosswalk leading from Star

Park to the terminal, the single act that most readily points up the

disingenuousness of the airport’s safety argument. If it really was

concerned about safety, why not leave the crosswalk where it was?

Next, the Airport Authority ordered its police officers to

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aggressively monitor the access road and issue tickets to people who

crossed there. Officers issued a slew of $90 tickets, though after

several months of complaints from some of those who were ticketed, a

judge ruled June 9 that the airport didn’t have the authority to

issue the tickets and that the so-called violators didn’t have to pay

them.

The latest bomb the airport has dropped Star Park’s way is the

installation of a fence across the section of road where the Star

Park customers were crossing, a move that also required redirecting

traffic in the airport’s traffic loop.

This all has gotten entirely out of hand. The Airport Authority

boldly asserts that pedestrians from Star Park pose a safety hazard,

yet have no data to back up the claim. The city has no record of

car-vs.-pedestrian incidents at that spot, and certainly we’d all

have heard about someone being hurt or killed there in the past

decade, what with all the attention the airport’s gotten in recent

years.

What this is about, disingenuous claims aside, is money. The

Airport Authority wants airport users to park in its lots, and is

taking whatever steps it can, legal (the fence) or illegal (the

tickets), to see that Star Park doesn’t get any of that business.

If it was a private firm, the airport’s tactics would be described

as cutthroat and unethical. Since it is a public entity, we like

Burbank Mayor Stacey Murphy’s opinion better:

“I’m disgusted,” the mayor told airport Executive Director Dios

Marrero and Commissioner Don Brown last week. “It’s disingenuous to

say this has anything to do with anything except a war over

finances.”

She’s right. The time to end this dispute is now. Since it’s a war

predominantly being waged by one side -- the airport -- we urge that

organization to do one thing about the Star Park situation:

Lighten up.


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