Neighbors lobby for new road in research park
Original post made
on Jan 15, 2012
A new road northwest of Page Mill Road that could divert traffic from the College Terrace neighborhood will be looked at by Palo Alto staff, city planning director Curtis Williams has confirmed.
Read the full story here Web Link
posted Sunday, January 15, 2012, 10:26 AM
Posted by Fred Balin
a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 17, 2012 at 9:36 pm
Fred Balin is a registered user.
Good and timely article.
One addition I would offer for more completeness is that in addition to the soccer fields that Stanford has built on its land, donated to the city for 51 years; and the 250 units of housing that it will build on about 350,000 square feet of current commercial space in two areas within Stanford Research Park (“SRP”); is that the university is also allowed to transfer almost all of that commercial space, 300,000 square feet, for development in other areas within SRP.
This 300,000 square feet of “replacement square footage” is independent of the cap on development within SRP as per the current Palo Alto Comprehensive Plan, while it also affords additional zoning incentives for its use, specifically in the SRP “triangle” bounded by Foothill Expressway, Arastradero Road, and Page Mill Road.
Craig Laughton notes that VMware “was also part of the Mayfield deal,” which is true, although it was not made public at the time. Mayfield allowed immediate use of one-third of the replacement square footage (100,000 square feet), and VMware’s 2005 formal application for its initial SRP development came right on the heels of the city council’s approval of the Mayfield Development Agreement (“Mayfield”).
This Thursday morning, VMware returns to the city planning process with updated plans for a new development, including a request for an additional 90,000 square feet of Mayfield replacement square footage. However, this time, and as per Mayfield, the use of replacement square footage must be preceded by various steps, including the demolition of office space designated for housing.
So plans for the housing on current commercial space within Research Park, including the former Facebook / Agilent / HP site at 1601 California Avenue are coming soon if not already on the drawing board.
Sue Dremann points out that the spine road concept is a decade old. And at least 5 years after it was codified as a College Terrace Residents’ Association (CTRA) “ Issue and Opportunity,” the 2004-2005 Mayfield process unfolded. And so, in early 2005, at a large public meeting in College Terrace featuring panels from both Stanford and the city, the CTRA board made a timely presentation with regard to the spine road concept. This helped lead to the city’s recommendation and Stanford’s willingness for the city to explore the concept, as the article notes.
There is neither any mandate nor guarantee that a spine road will be constructed; all the many and complex parameters of Mayfield are long since signed, sealed, and delivered, within the 100-page Mayfield Development Agreement of May, 2005, and supporting, referenced documents.
All that College Terrace has is a concept that it believes is worthy and the willingness of the city and Stanford to explore it. Time will tell.
In such efforts, timing is always crucial, but in College Terrace time itself has proven to be just as important, if not more so.
It is the willingness of College Terrace to invest significant amounts of time assessing neighborhood needs, formulating potential solutions, and seeking support, and then having the willingness to continue to work on its goals and ideas over the long-term, with new residents in the neighborhood, and among new faces on the CTRA Board that may be its greatest asset in civic matters.
The seeds of the College Terrace Residential Parking Permit Program, now in its third year, lead back to at least the 2000 General Use Permit between Stanford and Santa Clara County. The College Terrace Traffic Calming Program has it roots as a mitigation for impacts of a 2003 office development at Hanover Street and California Avenue.
If the spine road concept becomes a reality, it will be because of patience and perseverance as much as anything else.
College Terrace certainly does not get everything it wants, nor do residents agree on every issue. However, in areas where there is a broad consensus, a pressing need, or an idea that just makes sense, College Terrace has shown its willingness and ability to seriously, productively, and patiently engage in the public process.