For local walkers and runners seeking access to the Dish trail, Stanford has proposed replacing about half the available parking places on Stanford Avenue with an equivalent number of spots on Coyote Hill Road.
Yesterday at 10:00 am several of us walked to the proposed Coyote Hill Road parking access point from the Stanford Avenue gate to the Dish. This brief walk raised several important and troubling health, safety and welfare issues.
1. Too Long. It took almost 20 minutes, more than 4 minutes of which were spent waiting for the light to cross 7 lanes on Page Mill Road. This will effectively devalue the Dish experience for
2. Unpleasant. The walk along Junipero Serra is flat, hot, littered and noisy. It was so loud that we literally had to stop talking whenever cars and trucks passed. Traffic at rush hour would have been far more intrusive.
3. Unsafe Crossing. There is a dedicated right turn lane from eastbound Page Mill onto Foothill that is used in the morning by commuters headed for the VA and Stanford Industrial Park. Similarly, there is a dedicated right turn lane on southbound Junipero Serra that is used in the afternoon by commuters leaving Stanford and heading for 280. Hundreds of pedestrians are going to have to cross in front of these drivers, many of whom are late for work or in a hurry to get home. I believe a traffic study is needed to better understand (i) the extent to which pedestrians will slow down these turns and (ii) the extent to which pedestrian safety will be affected by crossing in front of so much traffic.
4. Community Access. Stanford's own publications estimate that 1500 + people walk or run the Dish each day. The majority of these users are women, many of them pushing strollers, many of them finding scarce time to fit in a walk or run before work, most of them busy, engaged members of our community. For these women, health is a great priority, as is the safety that comes with following a paved path used by many other walkers and runners.
The proposed parking on Coyote Hill Road is not a viable solution for these users. In essence, Stanford would be discouraging Dish use, to the detriment of the health, safety and welfare of our communities.
The Stanford Avenue parking location, for all its problems relating to congestion and safety, provides a unique opportunity for busy people. You can park, get an aerobic workout almost immediately on the first steep hill, walk 3 ½ miles in a lovely, hillside setting overlooking Stanford where even a woman alone feels safe, and be back to your car in an hour and 15 minutes.
I believe more effort should be put into finding a parking solution that preserves the wonderful Dish experience so many local residents seek out and enjoy. I hope Stanford will consider how very important it is to provide access to the hills that overlook Stanford and its neighboring communities.