First published in the Aug. 27 print issue of the Burbank Leader.
After months of public ire over traffic and speeding issues, the residential streets around the Raising Cane’s drive-thru restaurant in Burbank will receive speed humps, preferential parking zones, and a temporary road closure. Members of the Burbank City Council hope that these changes will mitigate issues that residents say are destroying their quality of life.
The Council voted unanimously to establish a preferential parking district in the 100-200 blocks of South Reese Place and South Orchard Drive, which is intended to prevent Cane’s customers from parking in those areas. Raising Cane’s will not be issued parking permits. The city will also install speed humps on South Reese Place, and institute a temporary street closure on South Orchard Drive. This will make Orchard inaccessible from West Olive Avenue and could help to reduce traffic on the residential street.
Dozens of area residents spoke out during public-comment portion of the meeting, saying that customers of Raising Cane’s now use the residential streets of Reese Place and Orchard Drive as a parking lot — often loitering, parking illegally, swearing at residents and leaving behind garbage.
“Currently, the cars circle and cut through Reese at high rates of speed waiting for the Raising Cane’s drive-thru to reopen,” said Tanny Bess, a resident on the 100 block of South Reese Place who advocated Tuesday for a partial k-rail barrier restriction access onto Reese from Olive Avenue.
Traffic per day on Reese Place nearly tripled after the opening of Raising Cane’s. City staff reported an increase of 182% from January to July, while traffic on Orchard Drive increased 147%.
“As a parent of very active 9- and 7-year-olds, I fear for them playing in the front yard or taking the dog for a walk because of the increased, unsafe traffic from Raising Cane’s. This is not a sustainable quality of life for the neighborhood, especially at the expense of a fast-food business,” Bess said.
While the City Council did not vote on the k-rail barrier, they did decide to reassess street conditions 60 days after the new changes and will consider additional measures if needed.
Many criticized Burbank Police Department’s parking enforcement efforts, including James Rathbun. “The police do nothing. You can call the police all day long and they won’t come out. If they do come out it’s 45 minutes to an hour after you call,” he said.
The department’s parking enforcement unit currently consists of just six officers and one supervisor, though BPD officials are planning a pilot program in partnership with personnel from a professional parking enforcement service provider who will oversee 75% to 90% of parking enforcement duties. The city will maintain all current parking enforcement employees during the one-year duration of the program.
David Emma, a resident of South Reese Place, said he believes Raising Cane’s should be relocated altogether to a new location. “I personally think speed bumps, permits and blocked streets will not solve the problem. I think it’s more of a Band-Aid. … I personally believe that Cane’s should be moved to a more suitable location. Cane’s belongs in a wide-open space with more ample parking — more of a commercial area,” he said.
About 80% of residents who live on the 100-200 block of Reese Place and South Orchard Drive responded to a neighborhood survey in favor of permitted parking. About 60% of residents surveyed on Reese Place favored speed humps compared to 88% on Orchard Drive.
The city estimates that the installation of all three measures will be completed by the end of September. The total cost is $37,000. The 2022-2023 Burbank City Budget was amended to cover costs.