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Taco Bell plan cooks up resistance

Plans to open a 24-hour Taco Bell restaurant at one of the most dangerous intersections on Buena Vista Street have nearby residents fuming.

Taco Bell plans to demolish a building that once housed Conroy’s Flowers at the intersection of Buena Vista and Burbank Boulevard to make way for a new restaurant that would have a drive-through, a dining room and onsite parking.

Burbank Traffic Engineer Ken Johnson looked at accident rates at major intersections along Buena Vista from the beginning of 2006 to mid-2010.

He found that there were 20 traffic collisions reported at the intersection from 2006 to mid-2010. When the traffic volume is taken into account, it ranks as the second most accident prone intersection along Buena Vista — a problem the plan’s opponents say will only be exacerbated by a 24-hour Taco Bell.


Several of the nearly one-dozen residents who attended a community input meeting this week brought up the death of motorcyclist Galo German Ulloa, whose bike collided with a big rig at the intersection eight months ago.

The driver told police he didn’t see the motorcyclist.

Resident Janis Bunch said drivers heading south on Buena Vista cannot see the intersection from a distance because of a curve.

Residents said the intersection has been the site of several wrecks, many of them fender-benders, so no police reports were filed. They argued that additional traffic generated by a Taco Bell would make the situation worse.


Adam Schwartz, who lives on Brighton Street, a block east of Buena Vista, said he’s concerned drivers will get their food and then head down his street, which he says doesn’t have enough stop signs to control traffic speeds.

“Brighton is going to become a race track,” Schwartz said.

City officials reported that a Taco Bell would generate about 1,300 more cars a day — with 79 during the morning peak hour and 55 during the evening peak hour.

Burbank Principal Planner Patrick Prescott said officials are taking all concerns brought up by residents into consideration. One of the options would be to prohibit a left turn from Burbank Boulevard into the Taco Bell lot to prevent traffic back-ups, he said.

Other concerns brought up at the meeting included trash, loitering and noise.

Taco Bell representatives said workers regularly pick up trash on the restaurant’s property, and that managers would not tolerate loitering. Signs would also be posted asking customers to keep noise levels down.

Operating from midnight to 6 a.m. and building a drive-thru require conditional-use permits, which the Burbank Planning Board will consider at a meeting on Sept. 12.