Stanford University is not supporting a proposal by the California High-Speed Rail Authority to build a high-speed-rail station in Palo Alto, according to a statement provided to the City Council Monday.
Stanford wrote that "the city and its surroundings have very little available traffic and parking capacity for such a facility (7,800 daily boarding, 3,000 parking spaces), and a station for HSR would not, in our view, constitute a priority justifying further reduction of this limited capacity."
The authority has been eyeing Palo Alto as one of three Midpeninsula cities -- along with Redwood City and Mountain View -- that could potentially house a station for the $43 billion line. The authority is also considering not building stations at any of these cities and making Millbrae the only stop between San Francisco and San Jose.
Over the past month, members of the Palo Alto City Council have expressed intense opposition to the station, citing concerns about increased traffic and intense parking requirements. The rail authority requires cities to provide 3,000 parking spots for a rail station, which it claims would bring economic benefits to whichever city decides to pursue it.
Now, Stanford is voicing similar concerns. According to the university's statement, the university is concerned about the lack of space around the existing University Avenue station for a possible high-speed-rail station. Stanford acknowledges that a local station could bring "economic and travel options benefits" to businesses in Palo Alto and on Stanford's land, but does not recommend pursuing this option.
Stanford's statement also said the University Avenue Caltrain station is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and "the manner of its preservation is not clearly expressed or dealt with in the HSR studies so far."
The university also expressed other concerns about the design plans for the San Francisco-to-San Jose segment of the voter-approved line, as outlined in recent environmental documents. The plans, according to the statement, include "inadequate analysis of future HSR ridership; continued lack of full cost information on all elements of HSR; and inadequate or incomplete responses to community input on HSR track alternatives."
The university is also concerned about "deleterious traffic effect from any at-grade track alternatives which impede vehicle, pedestrian or bike movements."