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Home Travel Disney says street they want to buy from Anaheim used mostly by resort visitors – Orange County Register

Disney says street they want to buy from Anaheim used mostly by resort visitors – Orange County Register

by Staff

Magic Way, a 1,150-foot street from Disneyland Drive to Walnut Street, in Anaheim, CA, on Tuesday, January 23, 2024. Disney is hoping to purchase the public street as part of their “Disneyland Forward” expansion project. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

A road the Disneyland Resort proposes to buy from Anaheim is utilized almost exclusively by resort visitors, and only a few dozen drivers a day use it for getting to other places, company officials say as they seek to address resident concerns raised during recent public meetings.

Disney is hoping to buy Magic Way, a 1,150-foot road on the west side of the resort, from the city as part of its $1.9 billion DisneylandFoward proposal to further develop its resort property with new theme park areas and hotels.

As critical votes to approve those expansion plans draw near, Disney on Monday during a Planning Commission workshop shared data from a Magic Way traffic study that found more than 99% of vehicle trips are Disney related, and only a few dozen drivers during peak hours use the road as a cut through.

“Of the 11,153 vehicles that traverse Magic Way on a daily basis, 11,053 of them are either departing or arriving at a Disney property,” said Joe Haupt, a consultant for Disney. “Less than 100 are non-Disney users.”

Haupt said the traffic study was done due to community feedback during a City Council workshop in January.

Disney is asking the city to give it more flexibility to choose where it builds new theme park areas, hotels and dining within its existing footprint, and in return has committed to invest at least $1.9 billion into the resort and give Anaheim money for affordable housing, parks and transportation. The City Council is expected to vote on the DisneylandFoward project in April, including agreeing to sell some roads to Disney.

Disney has committed to pay $40 million to buy the streets from the city. Those are Magic Way, Hotel Way and part of Clementine Street. Magic Way right now primarily serves people using the Pixar Pals Parking Structure and the Disneyland Hotel.

Haupt described Hotel Way and the part of Clementine Street that Disney wants to buy as essentially driveways into Disney’s parking lots. Magic Way is far larger at 1,150 feet and connects Walnut Street to Disneyland Drive.

Residents at that January meeting and again on Monday raised concerns about losing a road they use to bypass traffic to get on the 5 Freeway.

Randy Lewis, who lives across the street from the west side of the Disneyland Resort, said he began using Magic Way as a shortcut to get to the 5 Freeway two years ago. It’s been a “fantastic time saver” for his daily commute.

“I love it,” Lewis said.

Lewis said not using Magic Way to get to the freeway adds 15 minutes to his drive. He’s asking the City Council to not give up the road.

Engineering consultant Kittleson & Associates completed the traffic study from Jan. 31 to Feb. 4. On one Friday morning, they found less than 200 vehicles turned onto Magic Way from Walnut Street and about 30 of those cars continued from there onto Disneyland Drive, according to the traffic study.

Haupt said the original plan when Magic Way was created was to discourage cut-through traffic.

Haupt also shared a concept for how Walnut Street could better accommodate pedestrians wishing to cross it to get to the resort. A crosswalk could be added that would have cars stop to let pedestrians cross. The updated street would also have a separated bicycle lane.

Residents nearby who wish to walk to the parks don’t have a protected crosswalk and have to cross four traffic lanes on Walnut Street.

“Pedestrian access is clearly important, and it’s a need we need to meet,” Haupt said.

Haupt told the Planning Commission that there is no date for when construction on new plans for additions at Disneyland might begin if the company’s proposal is approved by the city, but Disney would have to meet its investment commitments within 10 years.

Anaheim Planning Director Ted White said the surrounding streets have adequate capacity to absorb traffic from Magic Way. Anaheim Public Works Director Rudy Emami told the City Council in January that work will begin this summer to improve traffic flow at the intersection of Ball Road and Walnut Street, near Magic Way.

The Planning Commission is expected to vote on the DisneylandFoward proposal at its next meeting on March 11.

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