New CPMC Hospital Deal: Smaller Campus, But More Car Parking for Its Size

The new plan for California Pacific Medical Center’s Cathedral Hill campus at Van Ness Avenue and Geary Boulevard calls for a far less massive facility than originally planned, but the number of car parking spaces per bed will actually be higher.

A rendering of CPMC's originally proposed 555-bed Cathedral Hill campus at Van Ness and Geary.

Under the new agreement announced by city supervisors yesterday, the size of the hospital will be cut nearly in half, from 555 beds to 304 beds. But the number of parking spaces included in its garage won’t be downsized at the same ratio, shedding only 210 of its 1,200 original spaces — a 20 percent reduction, according to the SF Examiner. So while the facility may bring in less car traffic as a whole, it will actually be more car-centric compared to the original plan.

“There’ll be a lesser impact on transit from traffic, but it’s only because they made the hospital smaller, not because they got any smarter about transportation,” said Livable City Executive Director Tom Radulovich.

Of the location at Van Ness and Geary, Radulovich says, “If you were going to pick a spot that’s not on Market Street where you could do the most damage to transit, Van Ness and Geary is pretty much it.”

The $14 million that CPMC has agreed to pay the SF Municipal Transportation Agency to help fund Van Ness and Geary Bus Rapid Transit projects was also reduced from the $20 million included in the development agreement as late as November, according to the Chronicle (though it’s still more than the $10 million Mayor Ed Lee originally asked for in 2011).

As for funding pedestrian and streetscape improvements, the agreement calls for the institution to provide $13 million — $5 million less than the mayor’s original ask. Those funds would go towards upgrades in both the Mission, where CPMC is also planning its now-upsized St. Luke’s hospital at Valencia and Cesar Chavez Streets, and the Tenderloin, where long-neglected pedestrian safety needs will only become greater as the Cathedral Hill campus induces more driving on the neighborhood’s streets. Whether or not parking will be added to the St. Luke’s campus, which has been upsized in the deal from 80 beds to 120, is unclear.

The original plan for a Cathedral Hill campus with 1,200 parking spaces estimated that it would bring 10,000 new daily car trips. A traffic analysis for the new configuration is not yet available.

According to a press release from the mayor’s office, “CPMC will institute a robust transportation demand management program to manage traffic congestion at hospital facilities and encourage use of public transit, including ongoing monitoring of traffic conditions around the Cathedral Hill campus.” However, the details of that program aren’t immediately available. CPMC’s transit incentive programs at its other campuses have not demonstrably curbed car commuting.

At their board meeting yesterday, city supervisors universally praised the new deal. The only mention of transportation issues came from Supervisor David Chiu, who gave an overview of the provisions, but didn’t specifically comment on them.

According to Chiu, access to the Cathedral Hill parking garage will be limited after 7 p.m. to drivers with hospital business. It’s unclear if the agreement still includes the mayor’s original proposal that CPMC pay the SFMTA 50 cents for each garage entry and exit during peak hours, and a 25-cent fee during off-peak hours.

  • voltairesmistress

    “If you were going to pick a spot that’s not on Market Street where you
    could do the most damage to transit, Van Ness and Geary is pretty much
    it.” — Tom Radulovich

    I don’t understand the comment by Radulovich.  The city is growing in population and needs updated, earthquake safe hospital facilities.  CPMC in its new location will be much better located next to or near major transit on Van Ness and Geary than out in Laurel Village where transit consists of one local bus line with stops every 1-2 blocks.

    This site will be at the intersection of two future Bus Rapid Transit Lines.  Patients may come by car for their initial admittance, but having so much transit will encourage their visitors to take transit, not drive.  If the garage is expensive for visitors AND workers/doctors at the hospital, they will also have a viable alternative to driving.  What better site for a hospital than this?  Or is it that Radulovich wants no new hospital anywhere?

  • Anonymous

    I always thought that a major hospital at that intersection was a great idea. Why? Consider: both Geary and Van Ness are planned to have BRT. They’ll have two lanes in the center of the road, which are occupied exclusively by professional drivers who can be trained not to stop right next to each other. And they’ll have signal priority, too. In other words, there will be guaranteed empty lanes in all directions from the hospital, no matter the traffic– ideal for rapid ambulance response times.

  • Sebraleaves

    Hospitals and medical centers need ample parking spaces. Who thinks sick people should travel on public transit systems?

    People sick enough to be hospitalized are in no condition to travel on a bus or bicycle or walk to a hospital.

    Anyone who has recently had surgery knows that the hospital requires patients to be wheeled out to a waiting car when they are released. You are lucky to have a friend who can transport you to and from the hospital so you don’t have to pay for an ambulance.

  • That is what taxis and car services are for.

  • Anonymous

    Do you know what hospitals are for or how they work? Have you been inside of one? Then you’d know the huge amount of healthy staff it takes to run a hospital, that people get preventative medicine, vaccinations, check ups, visitors etc. that doesn’t mean they are “sick” or that they are contagious. All those people should have the option of taking good transit, walking, or biking. Unfortunately due to the large amount of parking and how abysmal Geary and Van Ness are for anything other than driving, it sounds like most people with access are going to drive.

    As for the BRTs for Van Ness and Geary, if the hospital pushes for them then maybe I’ll change my tune, but when is the scheduled construction date for those transit projects 2020? We need those now whether this hospital is there or not.

  • Abe

    I think it’s more that he wants less parking.

  • Anonymous

    Tom is singing a different tune than he did in 2011 when this was first proposed:

    “It’s certainly a good start,” said Tom Radulovich, the executive director of Livable City, who has been a critic of CPMC’s plans. “It’s great to see some projects in there that have long been priorities for the adjacent neighborhoods.”

  • Kyt

    @coolbabybookworm yes, darn those health people going to Balance & fall, all those cancer depts, Renal, Geriatrics, Neurology, Rheumatology, ENT, and all those other dept perfectly healthy people go to! damn them all for taking up all the good parking! 

  • Kyt

    @murphstahoe serious? you realize the more ailing have to go to multiple appointments in a short period of time don’t you? some of them will have to go to a few every week because they can’t get the doctors all on the same day and patients travel from at least across town if not across the bridges to their appointments but even a cab ride across town can easily hit $25 and average about $40 each way.

  • Anonymous

    I’m just saying that while some people need to drive or be driven to the hospital (obviously) that’s not necessarily all of the people going to the hospital. When I go to get my heart checked for a genetic condition I have I don’t need to drive, it’s just a check up. In fact, cycling or walking to the hospital is good for my heart. The same goes for everyone working at the hospital and that is what much of the parking is built for.

  • kyt – all these people you describe, going to balance and fall? Geriatrics? Undergoing chemotherapy? Perhaps we don’t want them driving a car?

  • @p_chazz:disqus Tom’s quote you cited was referring to the funds for ped/street and transit improvements requested by the mayor. His quote in the new article is referring to the number of parking spaces. That’s an apples-to-oranges comparison.

    The same article you linked reads, “Radulovich and other advocates have criticized the Planning Department’s Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) and outdated EIR models that fail to consider how additional parking affects driving demand.” That stance remains consistent.


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