Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Thursday, June 01, 2023

Disneyland doesn't have transportation demand management planning requirements

A couple weeks ago, I mentioned Robert Niles, the "amusement parks" columnist for the Orange County Register.  I always learn from him.

And a few weeks ago I wrote about how at the metropolitan scale, most communities don't have transportation demand management requirements for stadiums, arenas, concert facilities, etc.

-- "To shift away some trips from the car, we need super robust transportation demand management processes"

Niles writes ("Here’s what’s missing from DisneylandForward")about Disney's long range plan for Disneyland in Anaheim, making the point that transit is missing from the plan.  From the article:

The Disneyland Resort has been putting out an impressive case for new rules to govern its development through its DisneylandForward proposal. Disneyland President Ken Potrock detailed the resort’s plan to OC Forum last week, highlighting the economic benefit to Anaheim and the region if Disneyland gets the OK to build hotel and attractions on space that has been reserved for parking lots. 

But watching Disneyland’s presentations and talking with resort representatives over the past year, I can’t shake the thought that something is missing from DisneylandForward. ... as a Southern California native, resident and advocate, there is an element that I wish that Disneyland would have been able to include in at least its top-level vision for the resort. 

Rail and bus transit service to Tokyo Disneyland. 

Disney’s theme park resorts in Tokyo, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Paris all feature train connections to their local mass transit networks, including local airports. On the best of these, Disneyland Paris lies just 10 minutes from Charles de Gaulle airport via France’s high-speed TGV network. Even Florida is developing a high-speed rail system, though Walt Disney World declined to have a station on its property after developers included a stop at the Universal Orlando Resort. There is no regional transit train station envisioned in DisneylandForward, however. 

Blame for that must spread beyond Disney. Where is the robust mass transit system to which a Disneyland station would connect? Despite continued development on many important components of such a system, including Metrolink and Los Angeles’ Metro, there is no route on the drawing board that would get a Disneyland visitor to the resort from any local airport faster than driving a car.

Addressing that should have been an element of the 2028 Olympics planning for Los Angeles, irrespective of Disney's long range planning.

But overall, this is the failure of the "metropolitan planning organization" system in the US, which coordinates transportation across a region--and in Southern California the counties are so big they each comprise separate MPOs--because they often don't have the most basic requirements for coordinating uses with transportation and transit capacity.

There are public bus lines that serve Disneyland, but the trips are not direct.  And private shuttles from the airports, but not necessarily top branded nor coordinated with the Disney Resort reservation system.  

Interestingly, Disney is the world leader in the management of customer experience, and you would think they would make this a priority.  Same with the Visit Anaheim tourism promotion organization.


Note that in Florida, Disney used to have the Disney Express shuttle service from airports to the campus.  

But ride hailing led to significant drop off in ridership, so they eliminated the service, which was built into ticket and hotel reservations, although it was operated privately.  Although private sector options have replaced the cancelled service, but it isn't built into the reservation system.

-- "Transportation demand management requirements as a part of campus planning for large sites: Disney World bus services," 2022

A similar service could be operated to serve Anaheim Disneyland in the interim.

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At 11:12 AM, Anonymous charlie said...

Alon levy had a good post up a few weeks ago:

The takeaway I got was that polycentric urban areas are inherently anti-transit, because transit demands real density (not YIMBY density). Once you get past certain density levels it only can be accessed by transit, and otherwise a car is always going to be a better option.

(kind of my old car-lite in DC; you want to take transit to work downtown, but you need a car to get anywhere else in the metro area. Putting restriction on driving ($30 parking daily) downtown can work, but trying to make driving so expensive elsewhere is just going to blowback hard.

Then ties into two other things I"ve been thinking about:

1) That current "transit" leadership has completely forgotten this (in DC). That you need MetroRail to make downtown thrive. Partly it's a useful correction after WMATA's long emphasis of the railroad as a "commuter rail" but it's far deeper than that. Lack of leadership from Bowser and current WMATA board members means they are actively trying to destroy downtown as a destination, which is the only reason you live in DC.

2. Ties into an earlier discussion we had about how you needed proactive leadership in the transition from streetcars to buses/cars and preserving the public option. Again what you are seeing -- combined with the need to increase land value --is destruction of the road network and further privatization. Further generations will wonder why we tore down highways and made things worse -- like Bangkok or Mumbai.

3. You walmart story -- which is in the end developers are pretty neutral on building transit density -- they want someone else to take charge and provide it. That seems to be what Disney is doing here. Going to greatly increase traffic but not their problem. People will sit through traffic jams to get to Disneyland.

Someone can probably do a graduate dissertation on Disneyland and transit -- they seem stuck in the transition from the "interurban" to subways. As we have elsewhere the interurban form is far superior (grid, small town density) from a livability point and hence the nostalgia.

At 11:36 AM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

We were just in Long Beach. It has 456k population in dense settings. What a world of difference in terms of supporting neighborhood retail one offs (we ate at a diner a couple blocks away two mornings in a row) with many pretty thriving neighborhood commercial districts.

It shows up SLC but also DC (although DC lost much of its retail vibrance with the riots).

The neighborhood we stayed in had tons of ADUs. I have to find out how that came about. Two commercial districts have those electric shuttles. I did see a couple golf carts on the street.

It, Tempe, and Arlington are really the national leaders in sustainable mobility. Hoboken too. LB might even be the best. They get rail from LA MTA (no Metrolink) but have their own bus and water transit, plus huge efforts for walking and biking.

Where we were only had cruiser bikes so I didn't ride (one speed!?, wtf).

At 11:59 AM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

Transit leadership in DC? What a @@$%^ joke.

I saw the letter about equity and the streetcar. We made that argument for years. I even did a mea culpa on not listing equity in my people's transportation wish lists, maybe 10 years ago.

But Jesus. I haven't responded to the Charles Lane piece on free bus, or the Post's defense of the K Street transitway.

But all the stuff reminds me of Cheh. No overarching vision. No understanding of mobility as a network. And she was the city's transportation "leader."

Ever since I got involved in this I said DC has five competitive advantages

- historic building stock
- transit and neighborhood friendly urban design
- historicity
- the steady employment engine of the federal government (hey, this list is 20+ years old)
- transit system + sustainable mobility options allow good living without requiring car ownership (restated a bit)

I consider it a huge privilege having lived in that environment in DC. Few places in the US are so situated.

Wrt polycentricism, what I did figure out is thst at the core Metrorail acts monocentrically. Which is why all of the areas served by those 31 stations have revitalized. Eg DC is to polycentric transit Metrorail as SF MUNI is to BART.

Yes DC is doing bike lanes. The Circulator. Bike sharing. Car sharing a definite plus. But nothing like Long Beach.

DC isn't focused on maximizing the sustainable mobility platform in the core and around stations and transit lines. (Eg my pieces on 17th Street NW).

They are basically coasting on L'Enfant.

And none of the DC elected officials understand this at all. You never thought Chris Zimmerman was as great as I did. But I thought his greatest accomplishment was getting the rest of his colleagues to embrace and understand the vision. Hell, Walter Tejada could talk about it better than any DC official.

So yes, the destruction of the economics of transit and figuring out what to do should be the city's top priority. Along with building and extending that sustainable mobility platform.

At 12:10 PM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

Amusement parks and transit would be a good dissertation. As you know historically they were tied to transit systems as a ridership inducer, usually at end of line stations. (Interesting that some cities, NYC, Chicago I think, SF, like NYC creation of MUNI was a response to rapacious capitalists!--they had nascent capacity to offer and operate transit )

Yep wrt LA, when the streetcars-interurbans died, there was no real high capacity transit alternative. That book I have on the transition from streetcars to cars in Chicago makes the point that real public transportation planning didn't exist. Regulation focused on safety and fares. That it was always in response to private sector initiatives.

And that was Chicago, where they had a good heavy rail system.

I didn't realize streetcars ran til 1963 in Los Angeles. I thought 50s. But the public sector wasn't ready or situated to be able to step in.

And like Walter O'Malley recognizing that his Brooklyn Dodgers fans moved out to Long Island and preferred to drive in and therefore needed parking, Disney saw his theme park system needed to be focused on accommodating the car.

At 12:15 PM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

And yes, that's why you need Dutch style integrated land use and transportation planning. Force placement of new high demand uses by high capacity transit. Connect high demand nodes (like airports) to transit.

Why these aren't the most basic priorities of MPOs is beyond me.

At 12:39 PM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

Another area DC screwed up is not taking the opportunity to replat the areas around Rhode Island and Fort Totten to be urban. RI was a failure by Williams. He wanted that big box shopping center. That shows a commitment to urbanism and density.

I did see in my feed that a Takoma station development is finally going through, after many iterations of subpar projects. The design is hideous though. And as I wrote years ago, it illustrates failures in DC planning in that sequential planning discourages and prevents innovation, not that the various agencies are capable of it.

At 1:34 PM, Anonymous charlie said...

Literally just talking to a realtor, she wants to sell her house (AU PARK) and move to LA to be by kids. But her thing was -- there is nothing to walk to in LA.

So yes, I do feel blessed as well.

But back to work. We've got a crackhead sleeping on the condo common area patios and leaving bags of drugs everywhere (and urine stains).

great point about the polycentric 31 stations BTW. Did not know the RI island big box was Williams.

And yeah, looking at Tracy Loh being on the WMATA board and actively campaigning against downtowns -- my thought was, damn, Richard was right about Zimmerman.

At 3:53 PM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

West Hollywood or Santa Monica or Venice but yeah. Otherwise the independent cities like Pasadena. Belmont Heights and Shores in LB--easy walk to the Ocean.

Electeds are "bad" everywhere, but why aren't we doing so much better?

We live outside the core, no persistent problems.

Buy "my" park used to be pretty immune. No longer. I got on their case a couple weeks ago because of a real problem at an underpass entrance. To their credit, the city and county addressed it in a thorough way.

What you describe reminds me of H Street in the 90s. Not good.

Seattle columnist. The Post has no one like him. Pearlstein was never this focused.

Betting on the city through infrastructure. I'll have to write about it.


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