FRISCO, Texas — One of the biggest questions from people who live or commute near the Frisco site where a new Universal Studios theme park will be built is how it will impact traffic.
The park will be located on a plot of land east of the Dallas North Tollway and north of Panther Creek Parkway.
The park’s entrance and exit will be off the Dallas North Tollway.
That’s according to developers who spoke to concerned neighbors at a meeting of the city’s planning and zoning commission Wednesday night.
The design ensures cars will stack up “on our site,” developers said.
But, the accompanying 300-room hotel can be accessed from Panther Creek Parkway, developers said.
That worries residents of Cobb Hill, the neighborhood that borders the land.
At the meeting, resident Philip Ray asked how the development won’t “keep those of us who live in Cobb Hill from using the north exit of our home every day.”
Transportation planners said they took a close look at how the park would impact an already-congested traffic area, and Frisco Mayor Jeff Cheney said other potential land uses could have generated more congestion.
“The traffic impact of high rise, office, mixed use, hotel -- all the uses that were planned for this site -- would have probably been thousands more cars a day,” Cheney said.
Universal said 30 of the 97 acres it purchased will be used for the park and hotel.
Both will be built on the northeast side of the property leaving space for parking, “an easy exit and entrance,” and room for expansion for future development said Page Thompson, president of new ventures for Universal Parks and Resorts.
He also said the park’s hours won’t interfere with high-traffic commute times.
The North Central Texas Council of Governments, a regional planning organization, was not aware of the development until it was revealed to the public.
“It doesn’t give me heartburn,” said chairman Michael Morris, when asked if traffic form the park might cause problems.
He agreed that traffic demands for a park are not the same as the current traffic demands in the northern Collin County and Denton County areas.
“They have huge a.m. peak period congestion and huge p.m. peak period congestion. It’s largely weekday. Not at night. Not weekend,” he said.
The park is billed by Universal as a first-of-its-kind park geared strictly at kids ages 3 to 9.
Thompson said, “At theme parks now, they can’t get on rides. They’re not tall enough. All these rides will be designed for kids.”
The park will also have interactive shows and meet and greet opportunities with characters – think Kung Fu Panda, Madagascar, Shrek, Curious George.
Cobb Hill resident Colin Berry lives close enough to see the land now owned by Universal from his backyard, he said.
He is also worried about traffic, but he’s hopeful.
“My first impression when I saw it like everybody else was, is this real? What does it mean?” he said. “We’re not used to amusement parks. We’re used to houses and Costcos and H-E-Bs.”
He’s lived in Frisco more than a decade and the growth has been astonishing, he said.
“When I bought my first house here, the access road to get to my neighborhood was a dirt road and now it’s basically a three-lane highway.”