Monday, September 27, 2010

Horizon West Deserves a Break Today

Horizon West Frye PD -- Lakeside Village on C.R. 535.  McDonald's is the outparcel. 
Winter Garden Village--No pedestrian amenities between Target and McDonald's.  The drive-thru McDonald's at Lakeside Village in Horizon West would have a similar layout. 

 Horizon West Drive-Thru McDonald's Approved
Site Plan Needs Adjustments

On September 21, the Board of County Commissioners approved a special exception for a drive-thru McDonald's at the Lakeside Village Center, on C.R. 535 in Horizon West.  The location is across from the existing apartments and condominiums.  The applicant, Boyd Development Company (no relation to Commissioner Scott Boyd) proposed a suburban prototype McDonald's like the one at Sembler's Winter Garden Village.  Try walking (with children) from Target to McDonald's.  Without sidewalks, it's dangerous and uncomfortable.  The proposed siteplan would undermine Horizon West's pedestrian-oriented requirements and needs adjustment.

McDonald's "Winter Garden Village" auto-only suburban prototype
McDonald's suburban prototypes wrap the drive-thru and parking around the building.  When walking to or from the restaurant, one might feel a moment of discomfort worrying about a vehicle pulling out of the drive-thru queue with the driver looking into his bag of burgers and fries to make sure the order is correct.  Others might not comprehend the danger to themselves or to their children. 

McDonald's "Winter Garden Village" prototype has a typical drive-thru wrap-around. 
I asked for help from the Congress for the New Urbanism's Orlando chapter.  I recieved overwhelming responses, including from Canada.  Toronto banned drive-thru restaurants that wrap around the building and cut-off direct access between the street sidewalk and the restaurant door.  McDonald's developed (or adapted) a new prototype placing the drive-thru in the rear.

McDonald's "Toronto" prototype.  Toronto disallows drive-thru facilities that cut off sidewalk access. 
 The City of Orlando similarly requires drive-thru facilities behind restaurants without cutting-off sidewalk access.  The Taco Bell at SoDo is a good example.  It improves upon the McDonald's Toronto prototype by including a separate queue lane.  Here's a GoogleEarth view:

TacoBell at SoDo, Orange Avenue, Orlando.
McDonald's adopted a similar layout--with the drive-thru in the rear--at its Ybor City, Tampa restaurant:

Ybor City, Tampa McDonald's

Ybor City McDonald's outdoor dining.
 The Lakeside Village McDonald's in Horizon West should adapt the Toronto or Ybor City prototype.  Any pedestrian path crossing the drive-thru lane should rise above the driveway grade.  The Lakeside Village McDonald's should add an architectural edge to the development's interior street, enhance the concept plan's grid pattern, and provide direct sidewalk access.  The County should also consider parallel, on-street, parking in front of the McDonalds (on the interior street--not on C.R. 535).  The McDonald's should become a walkable destination for future apartment and condominium residents who will live in Lakeside Village, on the west side of C.R. 535. 

The developer's attorney told me they're amenable to what we're trying to achieve.  Commissioner Boyd is in support.  Orange County staff wants to work with us to improve the plan.  Stay tuned.