Wednesday: Portola Valley to weigh in on Stanford hospital project

Whether there should be a traffic light at Alpine Road at the Interstate 280 northbound off-amp is one of several matters related to the planned expansion of the Stanford University Medical Center that the Portola Valley Town Council will consider on July 14.

The traffic and visual impacts along Sand Hill and Alpine roads are the focus of a report by former town planner George Mader in anticipation of a letter to Stanford from the town commenting on the hospital's draft environmental impact report (DEIR).

The council meets at 7:30 p.m. in the Historic Schoolhouse at 765 Portola Road.

Visit (case sensitive) and go to Page 161 for the complete report by Mr. Mader.

Among the report's conclusions:

■ Stanford notes impacts to the intersection at Santa Cruz Avenue and Sand Hill Road but that it cannot be improved because "the intersection is 'built out' and 'improvements would be difficult to implement,'" Mr. Mader said.

■ "It appears there will be considerable pressure to install a traffic signal" at I-280 and Alpine, Mr. Mader said. A signal "would significantly affect the visual pleasure of those headed to Portola Valley," but could help ease congestion in both directions along Alpine, he added.

■ The new buildings will "dwarf" nearby buildings, he said. "The driver on Sand Hill Road will have a much more urban scale experience that is foreign to the locality" and similar to San Francisco, Mr. Mader said, adding: "We are told by Stanford, however, that the trend is for hospitals to be built vertically for efficiency purposes."


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Posted by LLBB
a resident of Portola Valley: Ladera
on Jul 13, 2010 at 2:47 pm

A signal has been needed for years at Page Mill Road and the Highway 280 exits, but not at Alpine, at least not at current traffic volumn. As for regulating traffic along Alpine Road, if the San Mateo County Sheriff would just enforce the speed limit in the county area, the stretch of Alpine between Highway 280 and La Mesa Drive (Ladera), safety for all would be greatly improved. We've been asking for speed enforcement for years, but the County evidently does not earmark funds for speed control the way the Town of Portola Valley does. We need enforcement more than a we need a traffic light.

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Posted by Frances
a resident of Portola Valley: Ladera
on Jul 13, 2010 at 8:53 pm

Aha! I wondered why I was suddenly seeing traffic cops at 280 and Alpine Rd. Stanford wants to expand, and Stanford must get what it want--neighbors be damned.

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Posted by LLBB
a resident of Portola Valley: Ladera
on Jul 14, 2010 at 10:01 am

Yes, the evening back-up along Alpine between Sand Hill and Highway 280 is a fine argument as to why a stop light is indeed needed.

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Posted by Gunther Steinberg
a resident of Portola Valley: Ladera
on Jul 14, 2010 at 2:32 pm

Stanford traffic is getting back to some of its worst levels. This morning, Junipero Serra was solid with cars between the entrance to Stanford and Alpine Road, with more cars stacked on the north side of the intersections. The solution to Stanford's traffic is going to be a separate intersection from 280 North and South to access Stanford across their golf course and into the campus, leaving the surface streets to normal non-Stanford traffic.
Alpine Road is solid in the evening commute times too, which leaves one no way to get home westbound on Alpine.

While Stanford finally fixed the Sand Hill Santa Cruz intersection after years of too much traffic and holdups there, because of their endless expansion, they need to step up much more quickly before the local residents get really upset. But then they have the deep pockets and much too much influence on the political bodies that can put pressure on them.

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