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Stanford Moves One Step Closer to Redwood City

Stanford University will take the approved draft environmental impact report and submit a final plan. Do you think the project will provide an overall benefit to the community?

The Redwood City Planning Commission is looking forward to a final environmental impact report of the proposed 1.5 million square foot Stanford University extension at the former mid-point technology park. Commissioners Tuesday night reviewed the draft report and requested mitigation on traffic and air quality impacts on the project.

Stanford University approached the city in 2008 with a proposal that would expand the University, the Stanford Medical Outpatient Center and Genentech into the 48-acre area bound by US 101, Douglas Avenue, Broadway Street and Rolison Road. The proposal includes 4,500 parking stalls, an additional 5,200 employees and more publically accessible open space. The construction would include street extensions on Barron, Warrington and Hurlingame Streets plus more pedestrian crossings.

“We’re excited to join the Redwood City community,” said Steve Elliott, Stanford’s Managing Director of Development Projects. “We want to weave ourselves into the fabric of the community with street extensions, help solve neighborhood’s flooding problems, and provide worldclass business and education programs.”

Elliott added that many smart growth advocates had supported the proposed development.

Mitigating Significant Impacts

As with many new developments, the report found that the development would have a significant impact on traffic conditions at six intersections surrounding the development and traffic on US 101 in the project vicinity.

“Some of these intersections already have terrible traffic,” said environmental consultant Ray Pendro of MIG. “This project would add to that.”

Caltrans determined additional intersections under its jurisdiction would also have significant impacts.

Pendro said all these intersections have engineering solutions such as restriping and signal changes and partaking in the city’s traffic impact fee, but the developer would have to get approval from Caltrans. The fee requires Stanford and any other traffic contributor to pay for a percentage of traffic mitigation based on the percent of vehicle trips they contribute.

Caltrans is currently in discussions with the city to mitigate traffic on the Woodside Road entrance to US 101.

“Traffic is going to be horrendous, but we are studying the plan,” said Bonnie Miller, co-chair of the neighboring Friendly Acres Neighborhood Association.

Though the Association hadn’t voted to support the project yet, Miller spoke of the positive relationship Stanford has had with the Association.

“Stanford has been listening to us and has been caring,” Miller said. “And I expect them to continue that.”

Friendly Acres resident, Lisa Riedell, echoed Stanford’s outreach and applauded the project for its proposed neighborhood street enhancement system and energy efficiency.

The report also found significant impacts to air quality during construction and emissions from vehicle trips while the project is being built. An on-site child care center during construction would also have to be 700 feet from the freeway and insulated from noise that currently exceeds the city’s standards in the proposal.

If the city’s Historic Resources Advisory Committee deems the neighboring 425 Broadway, the plaza with the Warnecke fountains or the Ampex sign as a historic resource, the project cannot be built.

 

Moving Forward

As required by law, the report included alternatives to the proposed project: 

  1. No project – full occupancy of existing buildings. There are 600 employees currently, which only occupy one-third of the space
  2. No project – existing zoning; there’s still possibility to build square footage of up to 1 million square feet
  3. Reduced development/historic resources preservation
  4. R&D, hotel and restaurant
  5. Housing; 228 housing units

The public has until March 12 to make comments on the project.

After the developer submits a final environmental impact report, the Planning Commission will decide whether or not to recommend the project certification to the city council in the spring.

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Palomar Parkman February 22, 2012 at 05:21 PM
Stanford is a good partner for any community. They have a conscience that does not exist in many corporate cultures and can help bring solutions to a traffic and commute situation that is currently a unmitigated mess. Looking longer term at the proposed (inevitable) Cargill Salt Flats development, I can only hope that the City Planners decide to do more than just band-aid the Woodside Road intersections and look at other options for Marsh Road access to provide some relief for the residents in those neighborhoods also.
wotten1 February 22, 2012 at 06:05 PM
How does Genentech fit into the Stanford Medical Outpatient Center project proposed for Redwood City? Is there an organizational link or is this a collaborative financial opportunity to share costs for space in a new facility?
Julie February 22, 2012 at 06:37 PM
I lived in that neighborhood for 20+ years. I think Stanford will be a benefit to the area if traffic lights are installed at some of the intersections that now have stop signs. And, if more public transportation (shuttles) to Caltrain and Samtrans, downtown RC, and along Bay Road to Marsh Manor is available. I also think that because the now virtually empty parking lots are the neighborhood's unofficial off-leash dog park, an actual dog running area would be a HUGE benefit - especially considering the nearest one is all the way out on Redwood Shores. Will there be any retail in the project? Cafes, drycleaners, etc?
Paul Stewart February 22, 2012 at 07:25 PM
How could the project not benefit the community? Aside from the few NIMBYS who will decry the changes in RWC, the proposal will provide a way to not only upgrade the community but upgrade the neighborhood infrastructure.
randy albin February 22, 2012 at 10:08 PM
stanford is big money and big time. the best thing that this institution can do is to instill modesty and humility in people

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