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Residents split on impacts of hospitals expansion
Original post made
on Jul 13, 2010
Residents were divided Monday night on the environmental impacts of the Stanford Medical Center Facilities Renewal and Replacement project during the City Council meeting. More than 20 Palo Altans stepped up to the podium to praise and criticize the hefty Draft Environmental Impact Report's assessments of the huge project.
Read the full story here Web Link
posted Tuesday, July 13, 2010, 9:57 AM
Posted by Richard Placone
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 16, 2010 at 10:49 am
Re the traffic: I've lived in this town for 48 years, and do a fair amount of traveling around town. The only time I've ever experienced the traffic horror stories, (greatly exaggerated IMHO) is when I go out between 4 and 6PM. So I just avoid that time and let the commuters depart. My wife, who goes to so many lunches it's become a family joke and then volunteers at the hospital and Lytton Gardens, is out and about even more than me at all times of the day shopping and whatever,and she says she has never experienced these nightmares some residents complain about. So what gives?
Here is what Stanford and the medical center mean to this town, as I've stated to the council in a longer version of this letter. Wake up Palo alto residents, or move to Mendocino where you hardly ever experience traffic (or much else for that matter)
Council Should Support Stanford's Growth Plans
I applaud Council's care in weighing the impact Stanford's plans on the city's finances,
infrastructure and physical and social environment. But equal weight must be given to the
impact of the city's decisions on Stanford and the long term viability of Palo Alto.
Without Stanford, our city would be just be another small town. We would enjoy the same
climate, the same unique landscape, and the same cultural offerings of San Francisco. But we
would be indistinguishable from any other Bay Area city.
Consider what Stanford has meant, and will continue to mean, to Palo Alto and the entire peninsula:
EDUCATION: Without the influence and proximity of Stanford, the PAUSD would be just
another school district, rather than one of the highest-ranked in the country. This alone has
contributed to the high property values residents current enjoy.
AMENITIES: Stanford offers our community a superb museum, the Rodin sculpture garden,
theater and concerts in several venues, lovely grounds generally open to the public for
recreation and contemplation, access to educational programs for continued learning, the world
famous Stanford Research Park, the upscale Stanford Shopping Center, and much more. In
fact, Council's recent "Destination Palo Alto" PR project relied largely on Stanford's attractions
for tourists and business travelers.
Stanford has provided many community benefits: the gift of playing fields at El Camino Real
and Page Mill Road; reconstruction of Sand Hill Road, resulting in better traffic flow between
Highway 280 to El Camino Real; improvements to El Camino along the Stanford Shopping
Center frontage; the leaseat minimal costof the park across from the shopping center;
below-market leases to the city for utility department facilities.
REVENUE: Most of these amenities bring much-needed tax dollars to the city from shoppers,
business travelers, students and visiting faculty. Special activities at Stanford, like the Senior
Games and major sporting events, bring more visitor revenue to Palo Alto.
The creativity of Stanford professors and students led to the birth of Silicon Valley plus the
growth of leading companies from Varian to Tesla in the Stanford Research Park.
WORLD-CLASS MEDICAL CENTER: Finally, we benefit from the proximity of the Stanford
Medical Center, which has a direct relationship to the overall quality of medical care in our
community. The Palo Alto Medical Foundation is as it is today largely because of the
interaction between medical school faculty and the clinic's own medical staff.
I'm sure I'm not alone when I say that Stanford's medical facilities have been a godsend to
me and my family. My wife has experienced life saving surgery and ongoing care as a result of
advanced technologies offered by Stanford physicians. My late mother, who died last year at
97, enjoyed good quality of life as well as longevity because quick access to Stanford Hospital
saved her life more than once.
This is quite a bill of positive particulars for one institution to bring to a community!
Considering Stanford's global mission and responsibilities, it has bent over backwards to be
a good neighbor.
Re-building and expanding Stanford Hospital and Lucile Packard Children's Hospitalat a
projected cost of $3.5 billionwill make Stanford one of the country's premier medical centers.
The hospitals must upgrade to meet state-mandated seismic safety laws. Expansion will
enable them to keep up with advances in technology and demand for services. It will also draw
medical and healthcare businesses to the area.
Some residents fear more traffic, but traffic in the city is increasing even without Stanford's
growth. Economic developmenta key city initiativeand ABAG's decree for high-density
housing will bring more residents and more traffic. But without economic growth, the city will
While some opponents criticize the medical center's height, the buildings will be located deep
within Stanford property, barely visible to nearby downtown or residential areas.
Stanford has already offered the city $125 million in fees and community benefits in exchange
for permission to build. Additional financial contributions from fees generated by the project,
more workers and more visitors to the city can only be good news to depleted city coffers and
to local businesses feeling the recession's pinch.
I urge residents to read Stanford's Guide to Key Community Issues at
Web Link There readers will learn of
the incredible job Stanford is doing to alleviate traffic problems, reduce its use of energy and water,
and operate on a more sustainable basis.
I urge the city council to respond to Stanford's proposals in a positive collaborative manner,
seeking balance between protecting the city's legitimate concerns and expecting Stanford to
solve all our financial and structural problems.
I know of no other enterprise that has contributed as much to the city's revenues and vitality
as the university and medical center. Palo Alto without Stanford would not be the Palo Alto we
know and love today.