Sun10192014

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Stanford "Dish" parking proposal draws concerns

The Los Altos Hills City Council objected to a joint city of Palo Alto and Stanford University proposal to add parking to the Stanford Perimeter Trail – more commonly known as the “Dish.”

Following a presentation by the town’s Traffic Safety Committee Thursday, councilmembers voted unanimously to send letters to the city of Palo Alto, Stanford University and Santa Clara County challenging the current proposal and urging consideration of alternative Coyote Hill Road parking locations.

“We need to be a partner in those decisions,” said Councilman Gary Waldeck of projects that could affect traffic on Page Mill Road.

Waldeck added that the town needed “to find a way to ensure that the safety of our residents and all people who use (the trail) is preserved.”

Stanford officials reported that the proposal would increase parking for the trail’s 650,000 annual users by 25 percent. In addition to creating 33 new parallel parking spaces, sidewalks and lights along Coyote Hill near the intersection of Page Mill, the proposal would redesign Stanford Avenue for back-in, angled parking.

Los Altos Hills Traffic Safety Committee Chairwoman Martha Bowden said the committee “strongly opposes” the proposal.

“It’s not safe for cars, there’s no protected turn lane for cars (to and from Coyote Hill Road). … Pedestrians and children crossing Page Mill Road when traffic is going 45 to 60 miles per hour is just foolish,” she said.

In addition to safety concerns, the committee cited the project’s potential to create gridlock on Page Mill because of unsynchronized traffic lights and increased traffic on local streets during peak commute times.

“I actually really agree with you in insisting that they look at all options,” Councilwoman Courtenay C. Corrigan, a regular trail user, told Bowden. “Crossing traffic during both morning and evening commute is just not the most thought-out answer to this problem.”

Although a Feb. 18 letter from Stanford officials to the city of Palo Alto noted that the application for project approval has yet to be submitted to the county, the town may need to act quickly if it wants a say in the matter. If the county approves the program, $10 million in funding previously awarded to Palo Alto and Stanford University would be used to execute “The Stanford and Palo Alto Trails Program: Connecting the Bay to the Ridge.”

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