After years of fighting for more parking restrictions in their neighborhood, North Cordova Street residents say they’re not giving up their quest to prevent customers of nearby Porto’s Bakery from taking up valuable curb space.
The North Cordova Street Residents Assn. are fighting a decision by the Traffic Commission and City Council to not impose more parking restrictions in the 900 block of their street.
Officials say the block already has the strictest set of rules allowed under city codes, but residents say that it’s not enough, and that Porto’s customers continue to take up curb space in front of their homes.
“If we ever have to leave on the weekends to go run errands, we have no hope of getting a spot in front of our house until 7 p.m. that night,” said Rudy De La Cruz, who has played an active role in mobilizing his neighbors. “It is ridiculous that we sometimes have to walk two blocks with all of our groceries because someone decides not to follow the rules.”
Currently, parking on his block is allowed for residents only from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays.
Porto’s, which opened on Magnolia in January 2005, has worked with the residents in the past to improve the situation, said owner Raul Porto.
“We knew that they were being impacted when employees and customers parked illegally,” he said. “We worked with both residents and the city and put out more signage.”
Porto’s also hired an attendant nearly four years ago to ensure customers and employees followed the rules.
Porto said he was unaware there had been more complaints about parking and assumed the situation had improved.
“Part of the problem is that our building was vacant for five years before we moved in, and no one was taking those spaces,” he said. “When the residential neighborhood is so close to the commercial one, it doesn’t matter who goes in there — they are going to have an impact on parking.”
De La Cruz said his problem is not with Porto’s, but its customers ignoring the small “residents only” signs along the street.
“The City Council says two things: If we grant the permit to one street, we have to grant it to everyone, or that the city doesn’t have any money,” he said. “If they can afford to sit on those fancy chairs in City Hall, they can afford to put up a sign so I can park in front of my own house.”
But Ken Johnson, who has been actively involved in the dispute since it first came to the Traffic Commission in 2007, said the relatively small number of affected homes did not warrant a change to city regulations.
“Cordova is unique in that Porto’s is busy all week long,” Johnson said. “However, Porto’s parking on the weekends is generally by patrons for a short duration and affects only about the first four to five homes south of Magnolia.”
Under Burbank’s Municipal Code, the block has the most restrictive residential permitting system allowed. The city did not find residents were affected enough during the weekend to warrant 24/7 permit-only parking.
“We, and the Traffic Commission, did not feel that the inconvenience for those Cordova residents on the weekends was insufficient to modify the BMC for this one street,” Johnson said. “We studied the street pretty thoroughly for their last request, and that the street was not that heavily impacted, and all residents have off-street parking.”
While Cordova Street residents continue to press their case, their options appear to have faded.
They have already exhausted their recourse through the city after appealing their case to the City Council with a petition signed by all the residents of the affected block. And no state regulations can require the city to change permitting restrictions.