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Porto's neighbors cry foul on parking

Cordova Street residents say customers of popular eatery are taking up their spaces.

November 27, 2010|By Gretchen Meier,
(Tim Berger/Staff…)

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."

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