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Stanford Hospital expansion on track for spring approval

City releases Final Environmental Impact Report for massive project

Stanford University Medical Center's proposal to dramatically expand and rebuild its hospital facilities in Palo Alto hit a milestone Thursday (Feb. 17) when the city completed a critical environmental document analyzing the project's impacts.

The city's planning staff released the Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) this week for the Stanford project -- a colossal, state-mandated study that lists dozens of impacts and proposes mitigation measures for reducing the impacts.

The city had released the draft version of the report in May. The final report includes some revisions to that report and staff responses to comments from the public about the draft EIR. The City Council is scheduled to approve the new report in March. At a recent council meeting, City Manager James Keene described the project as being in the "last couple of miles" of a marathon.

The Stanford University Medical Center Renewal Project includes the reconstruction of Stanford Hospital & Clinics and the Hoover Pavilion, the expansion of the Lucile Packard Children's Hospital and replacement of laboratories at the Stanford School of Medicine. It would add about 1.3 million square feet of development space to Palo Alto.

The project has been making its way through the city's planning process since 2007 and is expected to receive final approval this year.

Mike Peterson, Stanford's vice president for special projects, said in a statement that the medical center is "very appreciative of the hard work of everyone involved over the past four years.

"Thanks to their dedication and commitment to making this important project work for everyone, we will be able to meet essential health care needs with little to no adverse impacts on the community."

So far, traffic impacts have topped the list of local concerns about the hospital expansion. At a Jan. 31 council meeting, Deputy City Manager Steve Emslie told the council that under Stanford's proposed mitigations, traffic impacts would be reduced to "less than significant" status.

Stanford plans to provide all hospital workers with Caltrain Go Passes, hire a transportation-demand manager, improve pedestrian and bicycle connections around the medical center and spend more than $5.1 million on programs relating to AC Transit. The goal is to get 35.1 percent of the commuters to give up their cars for other modes of transportation.

The EIR also lists several "significant but unavoidable" impacts of the hospital project, including increased congestion at three Menlo Park intersections during peak hours (Middlefield Road and Willow Road, Bayfront Expressway and Willow Road, and University Avenue and Bayfront Expressway), increased daily traffic on Marsh Road, Sand Hill Road, Willow Road and Alpine Road in Menlo Park, and a removal of up to 71 protected trees.

The Final EIR is one of two major documents the city has to approve before the project gets the green light. Stanford and Palo Alto are also negotiating on a "development agreement" -- a list of community benefits Stanford will be required to provide to Palo Alto in exchange for permission to exceed the city's zoning regulations.

The goal of Stanford's Project Renewal is to replace outdated facilities, increase the number of hospital beds and seismically retrofit the buildings to comply with state law.

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by too much traffic
a resident of Stanford
on Feb 18, 2011 at 11:16 am

What's the problem? Just add more car traffic lanes in the "significant but unavoidable" congestion areas. Use eminent domain if the property owners aren't too enthusiastic about helping out. Stanford has offered to pay millions of dollars to solve these problems. Better take the money while it is still on the table.


Like this comment
Posted by janet
a resident of Menlo Park
on Feb 18, 2011 at 12:53 pm

Alpine Road is way over capacity already and is a death trap for local residents. Traffic through this residential district is either at a standstill or way over the speed limit. The biggest hazard is the flow of construction rigs from Stanford that swing into the bike lanes and over the yellow lines. There has already been one death and will probably be more. Stanford blocks off all its property from traffic and dumps it onto everyone else in the surrounding area. How are Cal train passes going to help anyone - especially since Cal Train is reducing the number of trains.


Like this comment
Posted by Too much traffic
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2011 at 1:05 pm

Janet--let's get the discussion off and rolling with gross exaggerations and other falsehoods.
We know Stanford is the evil empire--certainly if Morton, Kishimoto and Drekmeier say it it has to be true.
Unfortunately Janet will not be happy unless there are more deaths on Alpine Road.


Like this comment
Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 18, 2011 at 8:56 pm

Instead of that odd scheme of Stanford sponsoring Caltrain passes for doctors who would never use them (and perhaps Caltrain will not even "be there,") can we instead have monies given to city of PA for road resurfacing, since roads near me, like Embarcadero Rd, that carry heavy Stanford traffic, will doubtless carry many more cars each day and be "impacted?"


Like this comment
Posted by Kate
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 19, 2011 at 4:33 am

Without good, qualified, well-trained nurses, the best physical plant in the world is meaningless. Why build a state of the art facility then treat the nurses like dirt?? Nursing is not all aboutt bed-pans and taking temps. It is a highly skilled, scientific, humanitarian profession that takes years of training. You don't want a minimally trained nurse - I'm talking about registered degreed nurses - assisting at your surgery, taking care of your heart, watching every minute over your new preemy baby - a 2 pounder -, your child with cancer, you/ your son with a heart transplant or heart surgery. Get real people. If you take your BMW in for service, you want the best mechanic. People are far more important. YOUR LIFE in the hospital, in the ER, anyplace there , depends on qualified RN's - registered nurses. And Stanford Medical Center treats them like second class citizens.


Like this comment
Posted by mary
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 19, 2011 at 7:42 am

Amen Kate.

Shame on Stanford and Packard.


Like this comment
Posted by Too much traffic
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2011 at 9:29 am

"Instead of that odd scheme of Stanford sponsoring Caltrain passes for doctors who would never use them (and perhaps Caltrain will not even "be there,") can we instead have monies given to city of PA for road resurfacing, since roads near me, like Embarcadero Rd, that carry heavy Stanford traffic, will doubtless carry many more cars each day and be "impacted?""

It is not an "odd scheme" and it is not just for doctors. It ias for all employees and Palo Alto wholeheartedly supports this plan. Also consider how much money this gives to cash strapped Caltrain. Once again Stanford comes to the rescue of a local beleaguered institution.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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