Almanac

News - July 14, 2010

Portola Valley to weigh in on Stanford hospital project

by Dave Boyce

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 is.gd/dm9eL (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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