|With a voluminous application submitted Monday to the city of Palo Alto, Stanford Medical Center officials revealed additional details about one of the biggest development projects ever proposed in Palo Alto.
The application provides the first traffic counts associated with the project, numbers sure to challenge Palo Alto's anti-auto activists.
The new medical complex -- including Stanford Hospital, Lucile Packard Children's Hospital and office buildings -- is expected to add nearly 1,100 vehicle trips during morning commute hours and 976 trips to the afternoon peak by 2020, according to a study by Walnut Creek-based Fehr & Peers produced for Stanford University.
Existing facilities currently produce 1,671 morning trips and 1,585 during the afternoon, the study states.
The whole complex would require more than 3,000 new parking spaces.
Mark Tortorich, Stanford hospitals' vice president for planning, design and construction, emphasized the traffic projection is long-term. He called it "proportional to our growth."
Stanford Medical Center is proposing a complex demolition/retrofitting/new construction project that would add a net 723,800 square feet to Stanford Hospital, 401,500 to the Children's Hospital, a complete replacement of 415,000 square feet of medical school buildings and about 186,000 additional square feet of office space.
To accommodate the redevelopment, Stanford officials propose creating a new zoning district for the area, perhaps known as a "Hospital District." That district would allow the height, size and design criteria proposed for the medical center, which otherwise exceed current zoning regulations.
The new Stanford Hospital would have three 130-foot towers (eight stories) and the Children's Hospital expansion would rise about 85 feet, shattering the city's current height limit of 50 feet.
Stanford officials also hope the new zone, if accepted by the city, would offer flexibility so the project could be tweaked, even after it is approved, Tortorich said.
"We know from our experience with health-care facilities (that) health-care technology is rapidly changing," Tortorich said. The flexibility is needed so the project managers can respond to the technology changes, he said.
Modern hospitals are tall to allow for patients to be transported privately and quickly via elevators and to maximize land use, according to Tortorich and the application.
Stanford points out in its application that several local buildings are also that tall, including Palo Alto City Hall at 127 feet and the residential 101 Alma St., which is 140 feet tall.
Tortorich also said the hospital, if constructed vertically, would provide more open space within the medical complex.
The application also briefly referred to another contentious issue -- the amount of affordable housing Stanford will have to provide, noting only that it will be "addressed as part of the project review" process.
Several Palo Alto City Council members have said they expect a housing contribution from Stanford as part of the project.
The application also includes the projected number of new jobs -- nearly 2,000 -- the massive expansion will produce by approximately 2020. That figure is lower than a previous estimate of 2,500 new jobs.
Currently the medical center employs approximately 6,850 people.
The estimate dropped because some of the added space is to reduce crowding, rather than add new services or patient space, according to a summary of the application.
Although the application doesn't contain design details, it depicts the Children's Hospital addition as two sweeping half-circle-shaped towers.
Tortorich said benefactor Lucile Packard asked to make the hospital as humane as possible and that curves are considered friendlier to children.
The 64-acre site is located generally between Quarry Road, Pasteur Drive and Welch Road. The project also includes the Hoover Pavilion site across Quarry Road from the Stanford Shopping Center. The Hoover Pavilion would be retained and used as physicians' offices, with additional buildings constructed nearby.
Emergency-room access would be oriented toward, and closer to, Sand Hill Road. Two driveways (one existing) would connect the entire site with Sand Hill Road
The project originated because Stanford Medical Center, like hospitals throughout California, was required by state law to fortify its facilities to withstand earthquakes by 2013, with more stringent standards taking effect in 2030.
Merely rehabbing the structures, some built in the 1950s, wouldn't be cost-effective or allow Stanford's medical care and research programs to remain top-notch, Stanford officials have said.
Patients would not need to share a room at either of the hospitals following the expansion, Stanford officials have said. The project would add 144 beds to Stanford Hospital's total capacity and 104 beds to the Children's Hospital while demolishing the original 1959 Stanford Hospital, as well as several other buildings. The 16-year-old Children's Hospital would be retained and expanded.
The total cost would exceed $1 billion, Tortorich said Wednesday.
Stanford hopes to begin construction in 2010. Detailed drawings are expected in December with a draft of an environmental report released in March 2008.
The City Council will next discuss the project Sept. 24 to clarify its expectations for the environmental report.
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