Menlo Park may ask Stanford to re-do its analysis of what the environmental impacts will be of its proposed expansion plan covering its development projects between now and 2035.
The plan could add 9,600 students, faculty and staff; 2.275 million square feet of new academic support development; 2,600 student beds; and 550 housing units for faculty and staff on Stanford's campus.
In a letter that the Menlo Park City Council could approve tonight, Jan. 23, city staff argue that Stanford does not take into account in its traffic analysis what the actual conditions are like along the roads near Willow Road, Bayfront Expressway, and at the Sand Hill Road/Santa Cruz Avenue-Alpine Road intersection.
It argues that, in its traffic analysis, the university needs to study more than just the traffic it might add during one hour of peak traffic flow in one direction. Since traffic is so bad now, it should look at reverse traffic flow and expand the window of its analysis to at least 7 to 9 a.m. and 4 to 7 p.m.
Stanford's traffic conditions should also be monitored more frequently than twice a year, staff say.
Stanford says it will pay for its fair share of intersection improvements if it goes over the trip maximum – on an annual basis. But Menlo Park argues that those funds, if distributed only once a year over 17 years, won't accrue to cover the real costs it and neighboring cities will have to take on from the increased infrastructure needed, as well as wear and tear on existing roads, that Stanford-related traffic will cause.
On the housing front, the city also says that Stanford should build the entirety of the housing for the people the new academic development will bring in on the university's campus.
"When Stanford University purchases or develops property for the provision of faculty and staff housing in adjacent jurisdictions, including both the City of Menlo Park and local school districts, the City and school districts lose property tax revenues from the property in perpetuity, since Stanford does not pay property taxes on lands used to support the University," the draft letter reads.
This creates a negative impact the city says is twofold: The city loses revenue it might get from taxes, while still having to provide municipal services to the residents.
Many of the concerns overlap with those voiced by the city of Palo Alto, in its letter to the university that was approved Jan. 22 with a number of amendments.
One of the last chances to weigh in publicly on the project is at a meeting tonight from 6 to 8 p.m. at Palo Alto City Hall (250 Hamilton Ave.).