Stanford's proposed expansion raises anxieties over traffic

Southgate residents, Palo Alto council members urge university to do more to mitigate traffic as it pursues campus development

As Stanford University prepares for its next phase of campus expansion, officials are confronting a daunting question: How do you add more than 2 million square feet of development without also adding traffic?

For the university, the question isn't purely academic. A key condition in its 2000 General Use Permit calls for Stanford to maintain a "no net new commute trips" policy at its campus. Thus, as Stanford's campus has expanded, the university has been forced to similarly expand its toolkit for dealing with traffic. Since 2001, Stanford met this challenge by introducing a vanpool program, launching East Bay shuttles, giving away free transit passes and adding more Marguerite buses. Its drive-alone rate plummeted from 72 to 50 percent.

"Despite adding more than 1 million square feet, Stanford has met this 'no net new trips' goal every year since 2001," Catherine Palter, Stanford's associate vice president for land use and environmental planning, said Monday night, during the university's presentation to the Palo Alto City Council.

Now, as the university is applying for a permit to add 2.275 million square feet of academic space and 3,150 housing units by 2035, city officials are wondering whether it can continue to gradually innovate its way out of traffic snarls. Its application, which is now being reviewed by Santa Clara County, identifies several new strategies it plans to pursue, including commuter buses, expanded local bus service and new bike improvements and parking policies.

Stanford is confident that it can find new and creative ways to get people out of cars. But some Palo Alto residents and city officials have serious doubts.

Last week, a group of Southgate residents poured their anxieties about Stanford's proposed expansion into a letter that challenged the university to do more to address the high number of non-residents who drive through and park on their streets. With traffic on Churchill Street getting worse each year, the neighbors wrote, Stanford's anticipated growth causes "additional alarm within our neighborhood."

In the letter, the Southgate residents urge Stanford to adopt technology that verifies that commuters are actually getting to campus by public transit, not "driving and parking adjacent to a Marguerite shuttle route in a local neighborhood."

"We are particularly concerned with the lack of a truly verifiable plan for monitoring and dealing with off campus traffic and parking impacts, particularly when we consider the manner in which the Transportation Demand Management (TDM) plan proposals are set forth in the Stanford application," the letter from Nancy Shepherd, Jim McFall, Christine Shambora, Keith Ferrell and Tom Vlasic states. "We find them inadequate and to rely on only committing to partially solving problems well after the impacts are felt by the adjacent neighborhoods."

The neighbors also assert that the Southgate resident believe Stanford "does and will contribute to increased traffic congestion in and around our neighborhood, the city and other communities and therefore should be responsible for this impact with mitigations that include clear and specific verification methods that ensure workers offered TDM programs are using public transit for the entire commute."

The council had its own questions and misgivings. Councilwoman Lydia Kou told Stanford officials that even if Stanford meets its campuswide goal, its growth brings unwanted impacts to particular sections of the city.

"While you're saying 'no net new commute trips,' for us who live here -- we don't feel that," Kou said. "We feel there is impact here."

She was also one of several council members who encouraged Stanford to get more involved in supporting regional transportation projects such as the electrification of Caltrain.

"If we're going to continue to grow the way we are ... to be successful in the 'no net new commute trips' goal, it has to be viewed at a bigger level, higher level," Kou said. "I hope you can commit to lobbying the state and federal (government) for a more strategic outlook on transportation."

While Stanford believes it can keep traffic from getting worse, the application proposes a hedge: a provision that would allow the university to pay a fee to Santa Clara County for traffic improvements if it fails to meet the "no net new trips" goal.

Mayor Greg Scharff suggested Monday night that one way Stanford can address traffic issues is by supporting the the Palo Alto Transportation Management Association (the city's new nonprofit) and Stanford Research Park's growing transportation-demand-management program. He also noted that California Avenue will soon need to have its own Transportation Management Association. He encouraged Stanford to help get that organization off that ground.

"I think we can create linkages between California Avenue and Stanford Research Park and solve trips in both of those," Scharff said. "Everyone benefits."

Scharff also suggested that at least some of the fees for mitigating traffic should be provided to the city rather than going entirely to the county.

"I think it's helpful for us to have it or at least share it in some way," Scharff said. "I think there will be impacts to Palo Alto from all of this."

Others were more optimistic. Councilman Adrian Fine lauded Stanford for its efforts and said the university should be "celebrated" for serving as a great example of low-impact growth. To assuage anxieties, he urged Stanford officials to explicitly share their traffic-related metrics and methodologies with neighbors.

Stanford officials acknowledged that it's not clear yet exactly what the university will do to meet its goals for the coming General Use Permit. That, however, was also the case in 2000. Jean McCown, Stanford's assistant vice president and director of community relations, said one of the strengths of the last permit was the fact that it created a clear goal while giving the university the flexibility to do whatever it takes to meet the goal.

"The exact technologies we use and the tools we use are left to us," McCown said. "I think that's one of the hallmarks for why this has been so successful."


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8 people like this
Posted by Thomas Paine
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Feb 28, 2017 at 8:32 am

Asking Stanford to support CalTrain electrification? What are you thinking Councilmember Kou. Have watched what happens every school day at 8 am at Churchill and Alma. Now imagine twice as many trains. Near total gridlock becomes complete gridlock.

32 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Feb 28, 2017 at 8:51 am

Don't trust them. 15 years ago, Stanford promised to build a bike path around the Page Mill & I-280 interchange. It never happened and bicyclists have been killed here because of there is no safe bike path through the interchange. Now Stanford says they will build bike paths so people won't drive cars to their new buildings. I don't trust them.

27 people like this
Posted by anon
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Feb 28, 2017 at 9:18 am

So All the parking structures Stanford has built since 2001 are parking no commuters, but just the temporary visitors to Stanford?????

Hmmmmm, someone should look into that

27 people like this
Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Mountain View
on Feb 28, 2017 at 9:28 am


I feel like that problem is self-inflicted given how Palo Alto fought against attempts to put Caltrain on a separate grade from road traffic. I'd suggest having the city re-visit that ASAP instead of trying to prevent a world-class university from giving even more students an educational opportunity.

26 people like this
Posted by Let's dump it on stanford
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 28, 2017 at 9:33 am

Why doesn't the city demand that every business in PaloAlto alto guarantee no new net car trips? For you xample, mikes cafe is expanding-- why not make that demand of them? Stanford for decades has worked to reduce car trips-- the rest of palo alo, not really.

4 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Feb 28, 2017 at 9:53 am

@YIM - we've already put Caltrain in Palo Alto on a separate grade from road traffic at University, Embarcadero, and Oregon, plus half a credit sharing San Antonio Road with Mountain View. So we're practically half done. No sense starting all over.

19 people like this
Posted by member
a resident of College Terrace
on Feb 28, 2017 at 10:33 am

"Stanford is confident that it can find new and creative ways to get people out of cars." Stanford has been confident for years and the traffic gets worse and worse and the constant traffic because of building project is horrible. They are creative with their counts that I can say.

15 people like this
Posted by Let's dump it on stanford
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 28, 2017 at 10:52 am

And meanwhile member Stanford runs a world class shuttle system available to everyone, they provide free transit passes, carpooling, long rang shuttle busses. And the list goes on and on. But for some people Stanford can do no good. And please provide us with the evidence that Stanford is " creative" with their counts

18 people like this
Posted by on campus communting
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 28, 2017 at 11:11 am

Hello......Much of Stanford's proposed building in on campus housing for graduate students and post docs who are already employed on campus. If they live on campus they will not be commuting with a car. In fact they would only add off-peak car trips when they shop and go to restaurants to spend their money in Palo Alto. Many grad students who live on campus have chosen to rid themselves of cars they owned earlier. It looks to me like Stanford is taking 3000+ commute trips off the roads by providing on campus housing.

17 people like this
Posted by cvvhrn
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 28, 2017 at 11:23 am

The new parking structures are filled to capacity as soon as they open.

The University and Medical Center all have a financial interest in the number of cars that go back and forth during the week. The cost of an A permit for parking is now over $1000 a year (That does not even guarantee you a spot) which generates quite a lot of income.

Living where I do, I bike on most days (weather permitting) but that is simply not an option for most.

I am quite curious to see what 'Innovative" ideas they have because I'm skeptical they want to fix the problem. Only continued community pressure will keep them focused on actual reduction.

27 people like this
Posted by Bryan
a resident of Southgate
on Feb 28, 2017 at 11:36 am

Adrian Fine continues to govern in ways contrary to the rhetoric he expressed on the campaign trail. This man continues to laud praise on all types of development. We don't need no development, and Stanford's wishes to build housing on their campus is a great idea, but please Council don't just mindlessly capitulate to Stanford's wishes without a thorough vetting of the proposal, and tough negotiations to ensure Palo Alto also benefits. Thank you to Council member Kou for suggesting Stanford help lobby the electrification of CalTrain - great idea.

19 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 28, 2017 at 11:49 am

Low-impact growth? How about no growth. How about Stanford start paying us back in tangible ways for the way the impact our community.

You do know that Stanford residents are only taxed on their structures, not on their land? So all those people are and will pay HALF the taxes we do. And up until a few years ago Stanford property owners of $X million homes were paying a laughable $50 in real estate taxes!

Adrian Fine knows that and the other members of the city council probably, do also.

For years Stanford has conducted absolutely laughable telephone polls asking "Which of these 5 arguments would convince you our growth will have no impact?" which of course has nothing do with the reality of the growth.

Just say no.

3 people like this
Posted by Let's dump t on stanford
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 28, 2017 at 11:49 am

Cvvhrn-- if you want can mmnity pressure, it should be placed on every business entity in Plano alto-- from Stanford, to visa, to the local mom and pop store. Everyone should be forced to guarantee a reduction in traffic.

5 people like this
Posted by Let's dump it on stanford
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 28, 2017 at 11:52 am

Online name-- yes how about the impact of Stanford on Palo Alto. Why do you think your homes are worth so much? How much do visitors to Stanford put into city coffers? How about free access to the dish area?

8 people like this
Posted by stanford resident
a resident of Nixon School
on Feb 28, 2017 at 12:04 pm

To online name: Those of us who live on Stanford property, but own our own homes, certainly DO pay county property taxes at the same rate as everyone else. Responsibility for the property tax is one condition for buying a house on Stanford land.

17 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 28, 2017 at 12:05 pm

Curmudgeon is a registered user.

"And meanwhile member Stanford runs a world class shuttle system available to everyone, they provide free transit passes, carpooling, long rang shuttle busses."

Yes indeed, Stanford does a very good job of externalizing its traffic impacts so the surrounding communities bear the load. It's like any of our other commercial enterprises that force employees to park elsewhere by denying on-premises parking.

5 people like this
Posted by Neilson Buchanan
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 28, 2017 at 12:05 pm

Dear Mayor Scharff,

I hope the newspaper misinterprets your statement about California Transportation Demand Management, ie TMA. California Avenue should not have separate TMA. There are economies of scale to combine and properly fund one TMA serving both downtowns including Town/Country Shopping Center and PAMF. Eventually expansion talks should commerce with Menlo Park to determine feasibility of serving Santa Cruz Avenue businesses.

The current Palo Alto TMA will not be successfully as currently funded and governed. Please clarify these questions during the Council Study Session for the TMA.

6 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 28, 2017 at 12:14 pm

Re the tax rate, on Sunday night we had dinner at a Stanford professor's home and were told that about residential real estate taxes.

If I'm wrong, I apologize. He's a very long-term retired professor so is it possible the rules have changed? I remember being shocked when he said that until just a few years ago, they only paid $50 and were now only paying for their homes, not for the real estate since Stanford owns the land on which the homes sit just as the own the land under the shopping center and the medical center.

5 people like this
Posted by Let's dump it on stanford
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 28, 2017 at 12:16 pm

And naturally Stanford runs a shuttle service to reduce car traffic and people complain about the shuttle service (same thing happened when Facebook was in Palo Alto) [Portion removed.]

11 people like this
Posted by William Blake
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 28, 2017 at 2:49 pm

[Post removed.]

9 people like this
Posted by concerned
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 28, 2017 at 4:59 pm

While some will be dismissive, as a Duveneck resident near Embarcadero, I see so much traffic that races off 101 and goes right up to Stanford, that I am always concerned when Stanford developments are mentioned. Some portion are visitors, some are visiting sports team busses, some are employees, some are unknown. But - for years - we see a large number of cars that are not local residents that are moving all the way up Embarcadero to Stanford. I witness this regularly. I would prefer that Stanford contribute money towards road-widening.
Also - I remain thoroughly puzzled about recent discussion of Stanford putting housing developments on the Stanford Research Park up the hill. I was always told that land had been left to stanford by individuals as a donation -- for open space -- and that it was required to remain open space. I realize there is some space leased to corporations. I still believed that the vast majority of the land up Page Mill Rd, Arastradero was donated to Stanford...for open space! Can they indeed commercialize, develop, sell off the remaining (now VERY high value) land? IF they do, wow, the traffic will be off the charts.

10 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 28, 2017 at 5:08 pm

Re the TMA, we've had that discussion before and we the residents/taxpayers would bear MOST of the costs of paying for commuters to come to and leave Palo Alto either by car pooling or by public transportation. Businesses would pay a mere pittance of those costs.

Those commuters would include our highly paid city employees who enjoy free parking spaces and benefits and retirement packages most of us would love to have. And now the mayor's talking about extending the TMA to Stanford???

It's bad enough that our quality of life has declined so drastically and that no many of us have to pay to park in front of our own homes and have to give up having guests over because they can't park at our homes, but now he wants us pay for well-emndowed Stanford's growing commuter base, too??


9 people like this
Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Mountain View
on Feb 28, 2017 at 5:48 pm

Palo Alto was technically founded to support Stanford, not to be an exclusive suburban retirement enclave.

9 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Feb 28, 2017 at 6:52 pm

^ You're saying Stanford is not exclusive?

2 people like this
Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Mountain View
on Feb 28, 2017 at 6:58 pm

Stanford is incredibly exclusive. That doesn't change what I pointed out.

11 people like this
Posted by I pay taxes
a resident of Stanford
on Feb 28, 2017 at 8:30 pm

I've owned a home on Stanford campus for 22 years and pay Santa Clara County taxes just like everyone else in the Stanford Campus Residential Leaseholders area of Campus.

I've come to realize that there are a number of vocal people in Palo Alto how hate Stanford just for the sake of hating Stanford, and they genuinely enjoy being mean to campus families. They make up alternate facts about campus homeowners and are certain that we are the cause of any number of woes.

Also, I've had many oddly discriminatory experiences with Palo Alto, here's one that I still can't quite square in my head:

About 8 years Palo Alto Rec changed their policy so that Stanford kids had to be enrolled in PAUSD in order to get resident status for registering for summer camps through Palo Alto Enjoy. That means a dyslexic kid who lives on Stanford Campus and attends Charles Armstrong isn't able to register for camps as a resident - but if they have a sibling who attends PAUSD, then that sibling can register as a resident. Wow. Great way to attack Stanford - go after the 7 year old kid with the learning difference.

I am a college professor. I'm generally quiet and so is my family. My dog is old and doesn't bark. I make far less money than most people in the area. I live in campus housing. It's a modest house. I spend my days teaching undergraduates. I love it. I pay my taxes. How can I be such a threat to Palo Alto? And yet I ama threat Only in Palo Alto and to ISIS - who doesn't approve of education.

16 people like this
Posted by Eric
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 28, 2017 at 8:42 pm

How do you add more than 2 million square feet of development without also adding traffic?

You can't.

Kou's suggestion that Stanford contributing to the electrification of caltrain is well intended, but half baked. The goal of electrification, as planned, is to increase the number of trains on the tracks. That means more crossing gate down time, more gate bell noise, more train horn noise. More cross gate down time means more cross track congestion. faster trains almost certainly, and unfortunately means more train related fatalities.

I would suggest that Stanford contributing to grade separations in Palo Alto would have a much more beneficial, and permanent impact in town.

Stanford paying mitigating fees to Santa Clara County if they do not meet 'no net new commute trips' is ridiculous. Since that goal could never be met, and almost as hard to prove one way or another, you might as well mandate that Stanford be responsible for the non existent grocery store in Edgewood Plaza.

If Stanford wants to expand, so be it, but they need to mitigate the traffic problems that will follow.

19 people like this
Posted by Works at Stanford
a resident of Mountain View
on Feb 28, 2017 at 8:48 pm

FYI, many of the benefits to get people out of cars only pertain to Stanford employees. Janitors, food service staff, and a looong list of thousands do not qualify for things like rail passes etc. since they are not paid by Stanford but rather a third party. This is, of course, to minimize costs.

Also, if anyone out there believes that Stanford's highest priorities are not making money and marketing its name then you're really fooling yourself. I see and work it every day. And the following quote is from my old Stanford physician when I asked her why she didn't go to Stanford hospital/clinics, "Stanford is only interested in treating the very sick and the very wealthy". The very sick are useful for training and research of course and the wealthy are useful for money which sometimes comes in the form of large donations. Stanford will run Palo Alto like a dog on a leash if given half a chance.

5 people like this
Posted by JJ
a resident of another community
on Feb 28, 2017 at 9:19 pm

The amount of traffic in town is limited by the amount of parking. If you want new development without causing more traffic, just ban parking. Yes, this will create more demand for street parking. The solution to that is permits. You can allocate permits to lots based on current land use and simply say that future changes in land use can never create more permits. Perhaps make the parking permits transferable to owners of parcels within a thousand feet of the original, so if somebody really wants more street parking they can buy it from their neighbors. If people can figure out a way to get around without parking a car anywhere, they should be allowed to build things without being accused of causing "traffic."

11 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 28, 2017 at 10:17 pm

@I pay taxes, do you pay property taxes on both your house and the land on which it sits?

I want to make sure I understand what the retired Stanford professor and his son said on Sunday night. Not that it probably matters but they live in the Santa Inez/Salviaterra area and had no reason to lie to us.

(And I'm not opposed to Stanford; my partner and my sister both went there as did many of our friends. I am opposed to Stanford insulting our intelligence with their phone surveys asking which pitch would best convince you that our expansions won't increase traffic.)

17 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 28, 2017 at 10:39 pm

"Palo Alto was technically founded to support Stanford, not to be an exclusive suburban retirement enclave."

Oh yeah? Timothy Hopkins laid out University Park to make money. There is no known record of him refusing money from retirees.

30 people like this
Posted by No to growth
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 28, 2017 at 11:20 pm

First lets stop referring to Stanford as an educational institution. What they really are is the largest real-estate and technological development corporation in the Bay Area. Oh and they also run a school.

Second they area basically a city of their own with close to 40,000 people on campus and surrounding areas during the day.

Third since the last GUP in 2000 they have added or plan to add close to 4 million square feet of buildings - both research and teaching and housing. There growth dwarfs all the growth in the area. And this doesn't even count the almost 1 million that they were allowed to add with the hospital expansion and the 500,000 that they are building in Redwood city to clear space on campus to cram in even more people.

Forth, if they aren't adding new car trips why do they keep building more parking lots and garages? Because if you read the GUP they can add parking for a variety of reasons up to and including their TDMs aren't working. Plus they are their own way of counting net trips and if they build on campus housing and those people own and drive cars that doesn't count for their net trips.

They should not be allowed anymore development space until they finish building out from the last GUP. They are still planning to construct 4 high rise residential buildings. Once they are finished with both the medical center and the campus building lets give it 10 years and really see what the effect is.

We already know that the quality of life in this area is awful - crowded roads, schools, parks, costly ongoing infrastructure maintenance, pollution and (until this year) water shortages that will be ongoing. Stanford's massive development in the face of our more nuanced growth is a slap in the face to those of us who understand that this area has limits and we are at them.

Say NO to any more growth for Stanford for the next decade at least!

14 people like this
Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Mountain View
on Mar 1, 2017 at 12:02 am

I really think that the value Stanford adds to the world far outweighs the value of Palo Alto being less crowded.

10 people like this
Posted by you
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Mar 1, 2017 at 6:21 am

Value that Stanford adds to the "WORLD" because the "WORLD" matters more than Palo Alto, America, or our quality of life.

Hopefully the Silicone Valley bubble bursts soon. It will just become unlivable and fall into rapid decline as people begin to recgoniE the damage wrought by elitist globalism.

We ain't seen nothing yet!

14 people like this
Posted by Neal
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 1, 2017 at 10:29 am

More housing means more people, more cars, more traffic, more congestion and more pollution etc. To think otherwise is delusional.

5 people like this
Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Mountain View
on Mar 1, 2017 at 10:35 am

On the one hand, you have a clear public good that benefits not just state, not just the country, but the whole world. On the other hand you have a want for a very specific kind of local neighborhood character. Yeah, I'm going to be on the side that says the former is more important.

11 people like this
Posted by Lydia Kou
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 1, 2017 at 10:57 am

During the campaign, I have always said that the planning for Caltrain electrification was planned backwards and will be a great waste of money. Grade separation MUST be done first! Then, electrification.

I have also said time and time again that State government must plan and put in place a Statewide comprehensive transportation infrastructure consisting of subways that connect properly, unlike BART which has left out a large chunk of us here in North County. Additionally, the different transportation agencies should be consolidated so they are not competing with each other and vying for limited funding creating inefficiencies and inconvenience for users.

That was what I was asking Stanford University to do, lobby for a Statewide Comprehensive transportation plan and implementation.

Enough of those temporary fixes!

Council meeting on March 13th has been cancelled because a number of Council Members are going to DC to attend a conference. Ask those Council members going to DC to reach out to our government representatives (Anna Eshoo, Kamala Harris, Diane Fienstein, Ted Lieu, etc.) there to plan and support an efficient, sustainable comprehensive transportation system.

24 people like this
Posted by So Thoughtless
a resident of Professorville
on Mar 1, 2017 at 11:09 am

Stanford Hospital and Medical Center add more traffic than the University does. It is estimated that all totaled , Stanford adds 8,000 to 10,000 cars into Palo Alto streets, particularly Embarcadero and University Ave, per day.

That's a lot more smog and congestion than the infrastructure and atmosphere can tolerate.

5 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 1, 2017 at 12:02 pm

Stanford does a good job with the Marguerite shuttle meeting trains and so forth. But I think it needs to be extended to the freeway ramps with parking lots to bring those that drive into Stanford without causing excess traffic on local streets. I would like to see it further expanded with the City Shuttle to enable commuters to park at the ramps and use dedicated shuttles to Stanford and all business areas of town. Stanford knows how to do this, so does Google, and this type of expertise is what is needed to get arriving commuters out of their cars and into efficient buses to do the last mile or so of their commute without causing excess traffic and no need to find parking.

14 people like this
Posted by Getting to Grade Separation
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 2, 2017 at 11:06 am

Trains are at capacity. We need more, so we need electrification. That means we need grade separation for east-west streets that cross the rail corridor--or they will be at gridlock for bikes, cars--everyone. People, start lobbying the state. Write Jerry Brown and City Council, Caltrain, and the county. City Council, get staff moving on a shovel-ready plan and a funding strategy for grade separation as a high priority.

Lydia Kou, stop talking about grade sep and exercise some leadership. Mobilize staff and the community. Do you know how to do that? Or are you just parroting what you have heard from others again?

Yes. Stanford, like other large-scale developers should contribute to this project as a mitigation for the impacts of their development. FYI...Their application proposes 200,000 new square feet per YEAR on average over the term of the 2018 GUP. This WILL will generate new trips on trains and on those east-west streets that cross the rail corridor. Yes. They should mitigate their fair share of those impacts as the law requires.

FYI...Stanford has been growing at 200,000 square feet per year since 1960, and they plan to continue growing at that rate. Prior to 1960 they grew at about 52,000sf per year. That is according to their own report.

I wonder how many school kids they will add to PAUSD schools this time? Their report is very sketchy on numbers of new post docs and medical residents.

2 people like this
Posted by Sea Reddy
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 2, 2017 at 5:58 pm

I live on Stanford Avenue.

On school day mornings, hundreds of children ride their bikes with parents to Escondido school and go to middle schools east of El Camino Real.

It would be nice to consider building a bridge/overpass to travel between east and west.

It is not funny. Yes we can. Lives matters. One traffic mishap is one too many.


11 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 2, 2017 at 6:40 pm

I live on Middlefield near Embarcadero and am between two schools where every morning hundreds children ride their bikes and hundreds of parents drive as near to the schools as they can get to drop them off. Embarcadero, also serving Paly and Casti, jams up with parents and commuters starting early in the morning and starting up again at around 3:00 when it's solidly jammed heading to 101.

At this growth rate, we're going to have to build bridges on every street, every intersection and at every cross-walk and at every driveway.

Please stop this growth-crazy insanity.

7 people like this
Posted by Give Housing A Chance
a resident of Mayfield
on Mar 2, 2017 at 8:58 pm

It sounds like Stanford is attempting to reign in some of its students from Palo Alto apartments and housing, and help provide more on campus housing. Less people competing for housing in Palo Alto and surrounding communities, is a good thing, not a bad thing. And, kudos to the folks who realize that Stanford has a superb free shuttle system. I do not think people in Palo Alto realize how lucky they are with this service. You can catch the Marguerite to San Antonio Shopping center and back, as well as to places on campus. If tech companies were given the opportunity to do like Stanford, build own housing for their employees, the housing crunch could ease up even more. I would much rather live on the Stanford Campus, then anywhere in Palo Alto. Life is more evenly paced, and calm on campus. Palo Alto is stressful.

5 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 2, 2017 at 10:51 pm

More housing at Stanford should reduce traffic rather than increase it. Students and post-docs can hardly afford in the immediate area and commute substantial distances to Stanford. If Stanford builds housing for them, the traffic will decline not increase.

1 person likes this
Posted by It's complicated.
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Mar 3, 2017 at 6:43 pm

To Anonymous...what Stanford does not tell us in their application is:

1). How many people Stanford will be adding to campus (faculty, staff students, med students, grad students, post docs, etc.)
2). What percentage of those people will be housed on campus?
3). How will that ratio change from present?

We need this information to understand whether or not the proposed increase in housing on campus will in fact reduce traffic.

There is a lot of information missing from this report.

2 people like this
Posted by Mike
a resident of University South
on Mar 4, 2017 at 8:23 pm

@Anonymous says, "More housing at Stanford should reduce traffic rather than increase it. Students and post-docs can hardly afford in the immediate area and commute substantial distances to Stanford. If Stanford builds housing for them, the traffic will decline not increase."

Stanford STAFF can hardly afford in the immediate area and must commute substantial distances to Stanford. I hear the complaints about mega commutes to Stanford every day.

5 people like this
Posted by Palo Alto Resident
a resident of Stanford
on Mar 24, 2017 at 12:41 am

Online name: Re: property taxes.

The property tax rates for homes on Stanford land are assessed at the market value of those homes based on assessment by Santa Clara County. Even though a home may be sold for say $1.5 Million, the property tax assessed value by Santa Clara county would be $3 Million because it doesn't care about the purchase price of the home, only its market value. It also does take into account the value of the land. This is actually a huge burden on professors who do not make salaries at all comparable to tech industry professionals who live in Palo Alto. Humanities professors often make less than $80k a year and if you have a family with children, a property tax bill of $3000 a month is not possible. As a result, many incredibly prestigious and distinguished professors live with a spouse and 2 or 3 children in tiny 1 or 2 bedroom condos built decades ago. The idea that Stanford faculty are living high while people in Palo Alto suffer is frankly disgusting. Totally untrue and absurd. These people are devoting their lives to educating the future leaders and innovators of the world and their place in this community should be esteemed. Not criticized.

As for your professor friend, it is incredibly likely that this person has lived in their Stanford house for a long enough time that they are substantially benefitting from prop 13. This disastrous monstrous and wholly un-American and terrible piece of legislation essentially froze property taxes to 1970s level and thus has created multi multi millionaires out of real estate prospectors. People who bought 18 houses in palo alto and menlo park in the 70s are now making 7k a month off each one while paying $50 a month in property taxes. It has destroyed the lives hopes and dreams of young people moving to these areas and is saving google millions and millions of dollars a year in taxes.

Of course there are winners and losers with prop 13 and your friend sounds like a big winner. If they've lived in the house for many years, the county cannot raise their taxes much and so they're paying very little. But that doesn't mean all faculty are. Most of them are struggling to live here and in fact Stanford loses professors to MIT, Harvard, Cornell, Penn, and other great schools all the time. Number one reason they leave? Housing. It is nearly impossible to live here and it's ridiculous because the lack of density means fewer services, restaurants, and businesses. Not wanting development seems insane and greedy on the part of Palo Alto residents. You've all gotten rich off prop 13 and tech and Stanford. And all you can do is complain. It's just amazing.

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