News

Dish parking plan irks residents

Proposal would shift parking from Stanford Avenue to Coyote Hill Road

With plans afoot to expand the trail network near the Stanford Dish, dozens of residents who frequent the scenic hiking hub are lashing out against one aspect of the plan -- the transfer of parking spaces from Stanford Avenue to a site more than half a mile away from the main entrance.

More than 40 residents from around Stanford attended Monday night's meeting of the City Council to raise concerns about the parking proposal, which is part of a plan by Palo Alto and Stanford University to expand the trail network near the campus and the nature preserve, which is on Stanford land. A handful spoke during the council's joint meeting with Santa Clara Supervisor Joe Simitian. The Board of Supervisors last year authorized a grant to fund the trail project.

Under the proposal currently on the table, 33 of the 60 parking on Stanford Avenue, which leads up to the main gate of The Dish, would be shifted to Coyote Hill Road, about six-tenths of a mile away from the entrance. This shift has created consternation from some of the regular users of the popular destination, which attracts more than 600,000 visits a year.

Stuart Klein, one of the speakers at Monday's meeting, argued that the parking plan would create a new barrier for the tens of thousands of community members who hike or run The Dish on a regular basis.

"The proposal that Stanford has made to move the parking to Coyote Hill Road creates profound safety questions for crossing a five-lane road and creates major health and welfare questions regarding taking away an asset that is so prized by this community," Klein said.

Concerns about safety and access to the Dish are far from new. Simitian, who had previously served on the City Council and on the Board of Supervisors before going to Sacramento and then returning to the county, recapped on Monday some of the recent clashes surrounding the scenic preserve. Once an unfenced area that allowed visitors to enter from just about anywhere, the Dish became more restricted in the late 1990s, when Stanford decided to fence it in, limit visitors to a main walking path, and create a main gate on Stanford Avenue for visitors.

This naturally resulted in more cars and people using Stanford Avenue, which prompted further changes, including a reduction in speed limit and a speed table to slow down cars. Still, for people like Jean Mayer, who has lived on Stanford Avenue since 1974, there were plenty of negative consequences. Mayer said the influx of people using Stanford has created a noise and at times filthy environment near her home, with car alarms blaring at 6:15 a.m. and Dish visitors urinating and defecating near her fence. Most people, Mayer told the council, don't think of the area around the Dish as a residential neighborhood.

"Most hikers are oblivious to their surrounding," Mayer said.

She was the only speaker who said she would welcome the transfer of Dish parking from her street to the Coyote Hill site, further from residential areas.

Ruth Lowy, another speaker at the meeting, sympathized with Mayer's dilemma but urged the city to find a middle ground between protecting residents and keeping access to the Dish unrestricted.

"There should be some way to have a balance so that people are not restricted or terribly impeded from getting to the Dish by having parking very far away," Lowy said.

Stanford has already made some revisions to its parking plan. Initially, the proposal called for converting the parking spots on one side of Stanford from parallel to diagonal alignment, which would have required cars to back up over bike lanes as they exit. This plan was scrapped because of safety concerns.

The university has already had two community meetings and revised its proposal to incorporate the Coyote Hill site, Jean McCown, Stanford's vice president of communication, said that while that's the proposal currently on the table, there is still room for further adjustments.

"It sounds like it's an open question," McCown told the Weekly. "We'll continue to listen to people."

Simitian cited the changes that have already been made and urged the residents to remain engaged in the process. He noted that the compromise should be developed by the school and the city – the official applicants for the trail project -- not the county. He said he found it encouraging that the controversy over the trail proposal is limited to just this one segment of the project.

"I think the process to date has actually provided some change in thinking," Simitian said. "I hope people will keep talking to the university and keep talking to the city."

Comments

Posted by Midtowner, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 5, 2013 at 9:01 am

I thought the whole purpose of going to the Dish was to exercise. It is rather ironic that people oppose the notion of extending their walk by another mile -- or, for that matter, fight over parking spots on Stanford Avenue so that they can park as close to the gate as possible.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 5, 2013 at 9:08 am

I am one of those people that think the Dish is overrated. I would much prefer to hike in Arastradero or Foothill. There is enough parking, bathrooms, and the natural beauty of both parks in a natural setting without paved trails seems much more pleasant to me.

However, each to his own.


Posted by parent, a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 5, 2013 at 9:14 am

I have no problem with moving the parking lot farther away from the dish as long as they install bathrooms, either at the entrance or along the trail. The trail is long enough right now but adding another mile puts it out of bathroom range for many people, especially those of us that are no longer young. You can't just use the bushes along this trail like you can with most hiking trails.


Posted by neighbor, a resident of another community
on Nov 5, 2013 at 9:16 am

Oh the irony!!!

Palo Alto residents want MORE free parking on the streets adjacent to Stanford residents' homes so that they can conveniently use Stanford's open space ---- BUT Palo Alto residents also want to bar "outsiders" from accessing Foothill Park and also want to ban parking on the streets in front of their homes.

Astounding.


Posted by Hilarious, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Nov 5, 2013 at 9:23 am

Neighbor--good point--Palo Alto, with its sense of entitlement, want full access to Stanford private property and want plenty of parking in Stanford neighborhoods. Yet they have no problem complaining about parking in their neighborhoods--College Terrace, Downtown North, Professorville, Crescent Park etc.


Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 5, 2013 at 9:30 am

The Dish and the other trails before the fencing were much nicer before the trails were made into two lane paved roads. The current parking on Stanford is a mess and blatantly unsafe. Moving the parking or eliminating it entirely would be just fine with me.


Posted by Mr.Recycle, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 5, 2013 at 10:04 am

@Midtowner The half mile walk from Coyote Hill Road adds more time than exercise.


Posted by Raymond R. White, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Nov 5, 2013 at 10:27 am

While Pulgas & Arastradero and Wunderlich let you go up & up and then down & down, the Dish provides more up-down-up-down over a 3.4 mile course.
While the new trail is supposed to be a great benefit, why is the proposal to move rather than to increase the number of parking spaces at Coyote Hill Road?
I feel for the residents who have had to put up with us parking on Stanford. We are pure negative to them.


Posted by boo hoo, a resident of Stanford
on Nov 5, 2013 at 10:34 am

Agree with neighbor. Ironically, today is a vote on whether a particular neighborhood, Barron Park, will be able to prevent the siting of affordable housing in that community in part due to the fact that residents surrounding the potential development are concerned that the affordable housing residents and their visitors will take too much of the available neighborhood on-street parking. Now, when Stanford residents feel that Palo Altans are crowding their streets, it's a problem. Well, shoe's on the other foot now, entitled NIMBies. The Dish is private property, the neighborhoods are in Stanford, not your own private backyard preserve. Cry me a river, entitled Palo Altans.


Posted by neighbor, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Nov 5, 2013 at 10:47 am

Boo Hoo -- and tell me, how much affordable housing does Stanford provide for their workers (not students)? And you may want to check facts before you over simplify Measure D to be about affordable housing -- it is about so much more, including the incessant desire of the Palo Alto planning folks to "urbanize" a town that has repeatedly lead to ugly, crowded developments that look more like prisons than housing, takes away from the sense of neighborhood and community long valued in Palo Alto, and benefits the developers far more than the community. Enough already -- the Maybell project isn't about affordable senior housing for our community; affordable units were left unoccupied for over a year at the new JCC. It's about catering to developers who have no interest in anything but profit at the community's expense. It just isn't a realistic project for the space. 3,000 sq ft. lots for a single family home? REally?

I do feel for the residents of Stanford Avenue and find the behavior they report appalling. Can't blame them for wanting the parking moved. Hikers should be doing a better job of self-policing the scofflaws.


Posted by Hilary, a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Nov 5, 2013 at 10:54 am

I can help but be suspicious that Stanford is trying to limit access to the Dish by the public by incrementally limiting access. Yes, I remember only 10 years ago where there were no fences, there was free reign of the nature in the area through a network of dirt paths and that visitors were not restricted to a single "recreational pathway", where there were not heavy handed patrols and that the area was accessible what ever time you wanted to visit.

This all changed when Stanford presented their General Plan and that they had future intentions to develop the dish land wanted to send the signal to the public that this land is not "public" but is Stanford's. I do not contest this point, but I remain suspicious of attempts to incrementally develop the land.


Posted by Jeff, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 5, 2013 at 10:56 am

Granting public access to private property can cause the owner problems. The visitors parking on Stanford Ave is a detriment to the neighborhood, but Stanford isn't obligated to build a parking lot for people who want to use their private land.
Maybe next time Stanford wants to get Palo Alto's approval for a building project, the public benefit they should offer is a parking lot for people hiking the "Dish". Doing that would commit Stanford to more of an entitlement though. Maybe that is why they are helping to fund a bike bridge over 101. There have been and will be opportunities to add to the public access. Whether Stanford/Palo Alto want to would depend on what is offered.


Posted by Jim Hols, a resident of Community Center
on Nov 5, 2013 at 11:01 am

@Midtowner

Why does a hiker walking the Stanford 5 mile loop not to want to extend the hike by a mile?

1. It is very unpleasant to hike parallel to a roadway.

2. Some people feel that hiking for 5 miles (about 1H 10 minutes) is enough and don't want to hike an additional mile.

3. Others hike just 3 miles or so on the trail and couldn't really do the extra mile just getting to and returning from the hike.

Instead of just beating up hikers, could we just look for different alternatives that would be satisfactory to both the residents and the hikers?




Posted by David, a resident of Mountain View
on Nov 5, 2013 at 11:02 am

Hello, I walk the Dish every Sunday. The difference for people in PA who want cars parked elsewhere, and the residents on Stanford is that the cars in PA are parked for at least nine hours a day, five days a week. There is no let up.

The people who walk the Dish are usually parked there maybe at the most two hours.

Regarding moving the Dish parking elsewhere, I don't know about you, but I don't want a workout before I start my workout.

That's my two cents. David

The Dish walkers whom I know are very courteous. They park, walk the Dish and leave.


Posted by Jim Hols, a resident of Community Center
on Nov 5, 2013 at 11:03 am

Could a parking lot be built on the actual Stanford land either near the gate or somewhere else that abuts to the walking trail?

Could a bike parking area be available within the Stanford land to provide better access?

I realize this is private Stanford land. I happen to be very pro Stanford and would never try to force them to build a parking lot on their land. But they might want to do this as a community benefit. Maybe as part of a bargain with Palo Alto for some other development.


Posted by Jan Brown, a resident of Stanford
on Nov 5, 2013 at 11:05 am

I think Stanford should build a fenced parking area adjacent to the "Trails entrance."


Posted by Chris Zaharias, a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 5, 2013 at 11:10 am

Chris Zaharias is a registered user.

I used my supercomputer to simulate an escalation to an all-out war between PA & Stanford. Palo Alto wins.


Posted by JoAnn, a resident of Ventura
on Nov 5, 2013 at 11:15 am

When I worked on campus, some of my co-workers went to the Dish on their lunch hour. It's not just people coming long distances.

Why not allow parking along Foothill? Stanford could move the fence in 10 feet. And porta-potties at the gate would be, for once, a friendly gesture at this site on Stanford's part. (They could even be coin-operated to share the expense.)


Posted by boo hoo, a resident of Stanford
on Nov 5, 2013 at 11:23 am

why not build a moving walkway from the parking lot (on Stanford land) to the dish entrance. Better yet, why not have poor people with lorries standing by to carry Palo Altans from their cars to their walk. Or perhaps they could ride on elephants. Hey Palo Alto, go hike at Foothills Park. It has a parking lot and everything. Too far from your baby and me play date or your book group?


Posted by musical, a resident of Palo Verde
on Nov 5, 2013 at 11:25 am

Around here when I was a kid... we could hike baylands to foothills in either Matadero Creek or Barron Creek. And hike north/south along the railroad tracks as far as we wanted. I suppose parents these days are happy to have all the fences and keep-out signs.

Regarding measure D: My ballot says the vote is on an amendment to rezone the property. There is nothing in the current zoning that explicitly prohibits affordable housing. Just looks like somebody wants more money than they already have. But I guess that's what voting is all about -- money -- can't do anything without more of it.


Posted by Downtowner, a resident of Menlo Park
on Nov 5, 2013 at 11:25 am

Bad behavior by some of the dish-walkers precipitated the fencing & path paving. Irresponsible dog owners ignored the requests to leash their "pets," who ran wild & intimidated other hikers & chased livestock and other dogs. First the ban on dogs, then the paving because walkers were going off-trail & littering. I'm not a Stanford alum but I have little sympathy for area residents who expect to use private property for their chosen recreation & inundate residential streets with constant traffic & parking. Residents & their guests can't park in front of their own homes.

I pretty much agree that if someone can start the dishwalk going uphill that adding some flat walking as warm-up/cool-down shouldn't be such a problem. If it is, then just do half the dish.


Posted by PA resident, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 5, 2013 at 11:30 am

A lot of the silent indignation is coming from "Condy" Rice who lives in the complex on Stanford closest to all the parking. I hear she's a very unpleasant neighbor ;-)

With seemingly little work, parking on Stanford can be reconfigured to be nose instead of parallel to Stanford Ave. That prevents people from leaving too much space between cars when parking, which facilitates exits, but eats up a lot of space. It seems like a much simpler solution.

I don't want to park that far away either. I go to the Dish for 65 minute workout... no more, no less. The Dish is convenient, but not worth an additional walk.

Oh, and if PA residents have a vote, I would certainly allow Stanford residents to use our parks as reciprocity for sharing theirs... but really anyone can go to the Dish... so not a logical argument.


Posted by Tom, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 5, 2013 at 11:34 am

Why not talk to Stanford about modifying the Marguerite shuttle schedule on the weekends so that people could get picked up at a parking lot on campus --that is otherwise little used on the weekend -- and dropped off/picked up at the entrance to the Dish?


Posted by Gonger, a resident of Stanford
on Nov 5, 2013 at 11:36 am

Joe Simitian returns! He was on the board of Supervisors that approved parking on Stanford Avenue when it was first proposed. This was against the wishes of Stanford residents and in the face of safety concerns. Don't let him do it again! How about a gravel parking lot along Old Page Mill Road? That would help solve two problems at once - parking distant from the Dish walk and parking on Stanford Avenue.


Posted by Janet L, a resident of Mountain View
on Nov 5, 2013 at 11:48 am

I'm glad to see most commenters support Stanford's plan to fix the parking nightmare on Stanford Avenue. Having a proper trail on the north side will allow people to walk or bike to the Dish more safely and will eliminate half the crazy driving that goes with people trying to parallel park on the roadway.

Their plan to build a parking lot at Coyote Hill is smart and generous. Remember, this is private land they're making available to the public. Yes, people will have to walk a little further, but people are visiting the Dish to walk anyway. Reminds me of the valet parking a certain expensive health club provides so its patrons don't have to walk across a parking lot. Silly.


Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 5, 2013 at 11:54 am

It's Stanford's land. They maintain it. They pay the costs for security. They have paid for the costs rid the area of non-native species.

What the anti-plan folks aren't getting is that the new proposal is a compromise...it is lessening the parking and traffic impact on Stanford as it is now - without eliminating it.

For those who state that they do a certain timed walk, etc. No matter where you start and turn around, you can still do your 65 minutes of walking. So I don't buy the argument that a different parking lot will ruin your life.


Posted by PA resident, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 5, 2013 at 12:05 pm

@crescent park Dad. Not sure if you've been there, but the Dish is a loop, which takes approximately 65-75 minutes to circle. So sure we can only do half, or three quarters and then turn around and come back the same way, but that takes away all the fun.

Honestly, I think this is a case of forcing a solution onto a problem that doesn't exist... there's plenty of parking along Stanford Ave, which can be improved with a little paving to fit more cars nose in. The limited space automatically controls the crowds... We don't need another parking lot, thanks anyway.


Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 5, 2013 at 12:12 pm

@Gonger,

Please keep the Dish traffic off Old Page Mill Rd. That's currently a very pleasant bicycling alternative to Page Mill and the constant flow of SUV's and minivans would ruin it.


Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 5, 2013 at 12:17 pm

I was born in this area - so I know what it was like and what it's like now.

Just alternate your routes - go one way the first time and then the other the next. Adapt. Evolve.


Posted by Michael Maulick, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 5, 2013 at 12:20 pm

Answer seems obvious to me. Create parking along the front of the Stanford property so that know one has to cross the street. What am I missing ?


Posted by Michael Maulick, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 5, 2013 at 12:21 pm

That should read "no one"


Posted by Stanford Employee, a resident of another community
on Nov 5, 2013 at 12:31 pm

Tom--The Marguerite has been contacted several times regarding creating a Dish stop. They will not do it because it is cost prohibitive. I really wish they would. It takes about 80 minutes to walk the Dish and up to 20 minutes to walk there from nearby locations and back. That is a full 2 hours for a lunch time walk. Not easy to do.


Posted by Downtowner, a resident of Menlo Park
on Nov 5, 2013 at 1:40 pm

>takes away all the fun. // Don't you mean half the fun?

> A full 2 hours for a lunchtime walk. // Walk faster. Change your route & walk elsewhere for 30 minutes, then turn around & go back. Unless you shower after your dishwalk, your co-workers will be grateful for your less vigorous lunchtime break.

> Dish walkers. . .are very courteous. They park, walk the Dish, and leave. // To be immediately replaced by more walkers, some of whom doublepark & stalk for parking spots.


Posted by Jill Knuth, a resident of Stanford
on Nov 5, 2013 at 1:50 pm

People who have posted remember what the area to the Dish was like before it was fenced. Those of us who are even older remember when only Stanford people could hike on Stanford land, and even they needed to get a permit. Cows grazed there. Gradually restrictions were relaxed and now the toothpaste is out of the tube and Palo Alto residents think access to this private property (along with free, convenient parking and toilets) is their "right".


Posted by Green parent, a resident of Green Acres
on Nov 5, 2013 at 2:03 pm

I once walked to the Dish from my house in Greenacres. It took all afternoon. Somehow, I have never gone there since....


Posted by biker, a resident of Professorville
on Nov 5, 2013 at 2:14 pm

In answer to PA resident, this is a real problem that has existed for a long time for bikers and walkers. There is a beautiful bike/pedestrian path through the woods along Stanford Avenue right up until that last block. Then it becomes dangerous with drivers pulling out into the road or stopping in the middle of the road to wait for a space or making illegal u-turns to snag a space on the other side of the road or just head home. It's about time the path was completed. I know it's too much to expect many people to dust off their old bikes and help prevent global warming in some small way, so getting from Coyote Hill to the Dish entrance will consist of a pleasant walk along the paved Matadero Creek Trail up to Junipero Serra, crossing Page Mill at the light, then a walk along a newly created path on Junipero Serra.


Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 5, 2013 at 2:40 pm

Since Stanford is already providing this "free good" of the Dish Walk, why not have users walk from Palo Alto proper, i.e. not from Stanford lands. I believe this would be in College Terrace somewhere.


Posted by Are divi, a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 5, 2013 at 4:16 pm

I love the dish, but the parking was bad and now it seems that it will get worse. Anyone who thinks the hikers are being weak for complaining about "walking to their walk" is not familiar with the generally unsafe nature of people walking on the road, or the frustration of trying to find a parking space at all.

Junipers Serra seems so wide with such big shoulders... Could that whole stretch bordering the walking area not be converted to diagonal parking with reduced speed? The residents understandably want their serenity back, and the visitors would not mind walking on a safe and "dish-ish" walk along the inside of a future parking lot. Lets take ALL the parking off Stanford Ave, let the visitors visit and let the residents reside!


Posted by Donya, a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 5, 2013 at 4:46 pm

Donya is a registered user.

I have walked the dish for many years and have met many people from cities other than Palo Alto. For some reason the Stanford residents who are complaining about the people using the Dish don't seem to realize this. If you look at the reviews of the Dish hike on yelp you will get an idea of how popular this walk is all around the Bay Area.

That said I am perfectly happy with having parking on Coyote Hill if there is enough of it. Finding parking on Stanford Ave during certain times is extremely difficult. I would much rather walk a little more than drive around in circles looking for an empty spot.


Posted by Bystander, a resident of another community
on Nov 5, 2013 at 5:22 pm

Parking on Coyote Hill Rd would require hundreds of pedestrians each morning to cross 7 lanes of traffic at Page Mill Road. This would be unsafe for the pedestrians and also will wreak havoc on morning rush hour traffic on Page Mill Rd, especially those trying to turn right from PMR onto Foothill Expressway.


Posted by jim hols, a resident of Community Center
on Nov 5, 2013 at 5:43 pm

Why are so many posters so negative about people that want to hike the dish.

There also seems to be so much anti Palo Alto tone. I am pretty sure that a very large percentage of people are from outside of Palo Alto.

I advocate for solutions that both hikers and Stanford residents like.

Stanford could and would build a parking lot on their land somewhere along Junipero Serra Blvd if they could trade for some development project off campus.

Yes, Palo Alto could trade Foothill Park privileges for Stanford dish.

All the folks saying that hikers should accept walking from Coyote parking just don't seem to understand the difference between walking on the roadway and hiking in the hills. If this were equivalent we could just "hike" around neighborhood streets.


Posted by Longtime resident, a resident of Nixon School
on Nov 5, 2013 at 5:47 pm

How would you like someone to Yelp your neighborhood as the destination for a hike? The numbers of hikers are overwhelming for the space. 700,000 in a year? Outrageous. How many visit Foothills Park annually? 10,000? The area has lots of beautiful open space - Windy Hill, Arastradero, Rancho San Antonio, Huddart, etc. In olden days you might see 20 people at lunchtime running the dish. Now, it is like a trail of worker ants going up and down the path. And, if there wasn't a paved path the land would be carved up like it was before the paving. Allowing parking on JSB isn't possible--traffic at times going 35+ mph. All I can visualize is mothers putting their strollers on the roadway as they get things from their cars (as many do now). Someone posted that hikers only park there 1-2 hours at a time. Reality is that parking is constant from sunrise to sunset. Nixon School is impacted as well. Kids and parents often can't find parking for after school and weekend activities due to hikers parking in the lot. The perimeter multi-use trail is a good thing. Let's accommodate the change and try parking on Coyote Hills Road.


Posted by HUTCH 7.62, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 5, 2013 at 8:01 pm

How about just building a nice parking lot just inside the main gate on Stanford ave?


Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 5, 2013 at 8:28 pm

I don't see the attraction of the Dish Walk anymore. It used to be the worst thing you had to worry about was an aggressive cow. Now it's teaming with people yakking away on their cellphones or a security truck driving down the single paved trail. There are a lot nicer places to walk than this.


Posted by Nora Charles, a resident of Stanford
on Nov 5, 2013 at 8:33 pm

Posted by boo hoo, a resident of Stanford
8 hours ago
why not build a moving walkway from the parking lot (on Stanford land) to the dish entrance. Better yet, why not have poor people with lorries standing by to carry Palo Altans from their cars to their walk. Or perhaps they could ride on elephants. Hey Palo Alto, go hike at Foothills Park. It has a parking lot and everything. Too far from your baby and me play date or your book group?

________
Great post, boo hoo! I like the way you think.

Whenever I walk along Stanford Ave. I see people parking illegally, driving badly, trash, remains of food, empty plastic water bottles, and smell the aroma of people having used the loo in public. Stanford is most sensible with the new plan. I can only imagine the complaining of Palo Altons if tables were turned.


Posted by Cal, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Nov 5, 2013 at 9:04 pm

Stanford will continue to choke access to the dish until so few people use it they can officially close it to the public, and then develop it into Stanford II. This is just the next step in that process.


Posted by Stanford volunteer faculty, a resident of Mountain View
on Nov 5, 2013 at 9:12 pm

Using Old Page Mill Road for parking would move parking away from housing to a barely used road, and not require thousands of pedestrians to cross Page Mill Road. There are existing gates onto Dish land from Old Page Mill Road and one leads to a path. This solution would ask very little of Stanford, relieve the neighborhoods near Stanford Avenue of congestion and high pedestrian use problems, not impact high traffic on Page Mill Road and allow pedestrians a safe entryway to the Dish.


Posted by Buster, a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 5, 2013 at 9:26 pm

The obvious thing to do is for Stanford to build a multistory parking structure right at the entrance to the path, complete with bathrooms and a coffee shop. A moving sidewalk to the Dish would be a good idea too, so the whining wusses won't have to strain themselves.


Posted by stanford homeowner, a resident of Stanford
on Nov 5, 2013 at 9:56 pm

@Jim Hols…

I've owned a home on the Stanford Campus for 16 years - I think a portion of the anti Palo Alto feel on this thread comes from of a few Palo Altans getting ticked at Stanford and taking it out on campus families. It's very Jekyll and Hyde.

There's a small group who love to hate Stanford. These people have no trouble complaining constantly about everything. They speak to me as i, one faculty member, am personally responsible for the GUP or the kick off time of a football game or the increase in faculty housing on California Avenue.

And then suddenly … they want to get their kid in to Stanford…. and…. Hey…. aren't you a professor? Someone just told me you invented XX. (CODE FOR GOOGLE SEARCH) Do you take interns? My kid is the SMARTEST EVER.

It's a minority of Palo Alto, but it's there, and after a while it gets old. The issues surrounding the dish feels like more of the same.


Posted by Old Grouch, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 5, 2013 at 10:06 pm

For those complaining about access to Foothill Park, I believe a bit of history is in order. As I understand it, when the park property first became available Palo Alto invited neighboring communities to join in the development of the park (and share some of the expense). All of those communities reportedly declined. So, if you don't want to do any of the cooking, don't expect to participate in the eating.


Posted by Sunshine, a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 5, 2013 at 10:06 pm

I can remember when the dish was not paved, you could walk almost anywhere up there and parking was easily available on campus as well as along foothill Expwy. This was good.
Please do not decrease the already too sparse parking. Unless Stanford's aim is to close this venue to non Stanford people reducing available parking Is a disastrous idea. We need more parking for the dish, not less. Please increase parking along Stanford ave and reopen parking on old Page Mill Rd and along the side of foothill Expwy.


Posted by Stanford homeowner, a resident of Stanford
on Nov 5, 2013 at 10:23 pm

@Sunshine….

Oh Yea… those were the days…..

nostalgia is just memories without the pain…the dish was getting dangerous….have you forgotten the assaults and rapes? The druggies at night? I don't miss the police helicopters waking chasing druggies at 1:00 in the morning …. nor do I miss the arson and being on alert for evacuation.


Posted by Downtowner, a resident of Menlo Park
on Nov 5, 2013 at 11:22 pm

I remember kids sneaking up to the dish at night, getting drunk, climbing the structure & getting hurt. It's amazing how many people think that Stanford somehow "owes" everyone access to its property.

Web Link

Portola Valley wasn't incorporated until mid-1964 and hadn't any money to share with Palo Alto. Current population of PV as of last year was still less than 4500.


Posted by Donald, a resident of South of Midtown
on Nov 6, 2013 at 6:48 am

Nose-in parking on Stanford Ave or parking along Junipero Serra would increase the danger to bicyclists, which would defeat the purpose of the proposed changes.


Posted by resident, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Nov 6, 2013 at 12:21 pm

Stanford and its residents have the problem of insurance risk in a high traffic area. It is not "public land". We have seen the results of careless fire damage elsewhere - Berkley Hills, or people who injure themselves while on the property if it is not maintained. The liability issues today are becoming excessive - any homeowner knows that, especially those that live in a proximity to open land. Stanford is correct in risk mitigation actions.


Posted by David, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 7, 2013 at 8:26 am

There is a substantial area north of J Serra between Page Mill Rd and Stanford Ave that could be used as parking. It is a right of way for the hetch hetchee water mains.


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Nov 7, 2013 at 2:25 pm

Hmmm is a registered user.

The increased popularity of the Dish continues to puzzle me. I echo Nora's sentiments about problems on Stanford Ave.


Posted by Stanford Schmtanford, a resident of University South
on Nov 7, 2013 at 10:08 pm

Why is Stanford not providing bathrooms, water fountains/filling stations, and other amenities so people would not have to lug disposable plastic bottles, urinate outdoors, etc? It is basic common sense. Most people need water for the length of the hike and there is no infrastructure for the jogger/walker/runner/hiker who wants to be a good citizen/steward of the land and bring refillable water jugs/bottles and responsibly urinate.


Posted by Nayeli, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 8, 2013 at 10:06 am

@ Midtowner:

The purpose is not just to exercise -- but the choice of WHERE you are exercising. We have an elliptical machine in the home. It is great during many days, but sometimes we like to see the scenery at the Dish. Sometimes, we go just to enjoy the views or take pictures.

Why can't they simply take the existing parking and making it better? They would simply have to switch from line (bumper to bumper) parking to angled parking spots. This would add 50% more parking (or more) without having to build a lot anywhere.


Posted by Nayeli, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 8, 2013 at 10:21 am

In regard to the parking along Stanford Avenue: I think that modifying the parking from parallel (bumper to bumper) parking is a terrible waste of space. If the parking was modified to clearly marked 45 or 60 degree spaces, you could add many more parking -- closer to the Dish -- and actually make it "cleaner." You would have fewer people parking further down the road as well.

Has anyone even looked into this? It seems like an easy and very cost-effective solution.


Posted by Nayeli, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 8, 2013 at 10:23 am

Please see Section 1.5 ("Types of Parking"):

Web Link


Posted by Jim H., a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 8, 2013 at 11:53 am

@ Stanford Schmtanford - There is a water fountain along the Dish trail. It's on the lower trail parallel to Junipero Serra, north of Frenchman's entrance, south of the northern entrance from Junipero Serra.

It's a 3-4 mile walk, depending on where you park. That takes about an hour. If you can't control your bladder for more than an hour, than you have bigger issues than parking at the Dish. I'm sure the Urology department at the Stanford Hosptial can help, however.

Stanford should take a page out of Palo Alto's manual and only allow access to Stanford affiliated people (of which I am not).

Not their job/duty/right/etc... to provide recreational opportunities for the general masses. If your yard is nicer and bigger than mine, does that mean that I have the right to come over and play at your house?

There's a great preserve, just down the road from the Dish, with a nice parking lot, open to all, at Arastradero. It even has bathrooms and water fountains...


Posted by 55 year resident, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 8, 2013 at 2:42 pm

40 years ago no one ever went up into those hills unless there was a reason.
The KZSU tranmitter was up there, so we had to go up for periodic checks.
I don't remember seeing any people walk around in the Stanford hills.
I know two families whose have lived on Junipero Serra for almost 50 years.
Their homes back to the hills. It is just awful for them now.
One of them asked me where have all these people come from, and why?
Yes, many of them are out of the area it seems.
We are overpopulated. One poster said that the lines of people reminded them of ants following a trail. Exactly.
Stanford has grown, but many of these walkers do seem to be from out of the general area.
Just adding a historical perspective, but no solutions to the population problem which STanford and the area has brought upon itself


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