'Parking is a nightmare'

CITY HALL — City commissioners this week tried to end a parking war between Pacific BMW employees and nearby residents, voting to approve restricted parking permits for a portion of Windsor Road.

The dealership’s 2003 expansion was contingent on a number of measures — including 253 on-site parking spaces — aimed at minimizing impacts to nearby residents.

But many employees of the dealership at 800 S. Brand Blvd. instead park on residential streets, especially on nearby Windsor Road, compounding a lack of parking in the area, city officials and residents said.

“Parking is a nightmare, and it’s made a nightmare by these auto dealers,” said Windsor Road resident Brian Gant. “It’s absurd that we’re even here. If these places have ample parking on the premises, why aren’t they parking there?”

On Tuesday, the Traffic and Parking Commission sided with residents, unanimously voting to approve a petition for 24-hour preferential parking for the 100 through 300 blocks of Windsor Road.

The commission also voted to recommend that the City Council approve the preparation of a comprehensive parking plan for the entire South Brand Boulevard area after city officials said approving preferential parking on Windsor Road could worsen conditions on other neighborhood streets.

“Windsor is just potentially opening up Pandora’s box,” said Traffic and Safety Administrator Jano Baghdanian. “We’ve had this problem in this area of residential streets south of Colorado. It’s been an ongoing problem.”

If the City Council approves the creation of a district parking plan, officials would explore broader solutions to the area’s traffic issues, such as larger preferential parking zones similar to those near Glendale Community College.

Commissioners said they were swayed by the residents, who said the parking situation is so bad they often fear leaving their homes.

“I came here to find a compromise between the businesses and the residents,” said Commissioner Aram Sahakian. “But there is enough ample parking on this property.”

Glendale Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President Judee Kendall and Jeanne Brewer, general manager at Acura of Glendale, spoke in opposition to Windsor Road’s application and said the traffic problem affects all area stakeholders.

“We hope to continue to keep growing,” Brewer said. “So what do we do with the residents who live in the area and all of the employees who want to park on the street or the customers who want a quick stop-by?”

Sahakian and other commissioners criticized Pacific BMW for not sending a representative to the meeting to respond to the residential and commission concern.

On Wednesday, Pacific BMW Vice President Nicholas Lam said dealership reps had met repeatedly with city officials to discuss the situation. He said he was disappointed by the commission’s decision, which he felt was one-sided.

“Most of the parking staff know our situation extensively,” he said. “It’s not that we disrespect them. Jeanne [Brewer] was there to tell the dealers’ side of the story.”

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