Stanford to reopen Dish area

An example of STAY SAFE program signs that are being installed at entrances to t

An example of STAY SAFE program signs that are being installed at entrances to the Dish area to provide information about safely navigating the path. Additional signage and ground markings have been placed along pathways. (Image credit: Land, Buildings and Real Estate)

Stanford has made improvements to the Dish to promote a safe and healthy environment as it welcomes back the community for recreation in the popular area beginning on July 6.

Summertime walks in the Dish area on Stanford’s campus, a popular activity for Stanford community members and neighboring residents, will again be possible starting on Monday, July 6.

Since closing the Dish area on April 3, the university has worked on a series of improvements to comply with Santa Clara County health orders and promote proper physical distancing. Changes include the installation of a new pedestrian access gate at Stanford Avenue and temporary signage throughout the Dish area, the smoothing of areas next to the pathway to allow more room for passing, and pavement striping to clearly indicate the direction of one-way pedestrian foot traffic.

The Dish will be open daily during its normal summer hours of 6 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

"We are excited to once again welcome the community to the Dish area, and we are committed to providing this beautiful space for the enjoyment of all," said Megan Swezey Fogarty, associate vice president for community engagement. "As we invite our community back to the Dish, we also request your assistance to create a fun and healthy experience."

In addition to providing opportunities for hiking and jogging along its pathway, the Dish supports a variety of purposes, including academic research, habitation conservation programs and environmental restoration efforts.

New health and safety guidelines

The Dish area will look and operate a little differently in response to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and visitors are being asked to follow new rules that are consistent with state and local public health guidance.

Many of the guidelines are now familiar aspects of our daily routines: Do not enter the Dish area if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms; maintain 6 feet of distance at all times from people not in your immediate household; bring a face covering and wear it when you cannot physically distance from those who are not in your household; and avoid gathering in groups.

There are also some new rules specific to navigating the Dish pathway. The main 3.3-mile loop will now be one-way in the counterclockwise direction to allow for passing at a safer distance. Visitors must plan to complete the loop to maintain the directional flow.

All visitors, even those who are part of the same household, are expected to walk single file on any path from a gate to the main Dish loop. While on the loop, two people from the same household or social bubble may walk side-by-side as long as they remain on the far right side of the path. The left side of the path is reserved for passing others, similar to how one passes a slower moving vehicle on a roadway - when passing another person or two-person group, move to the left of the pathway, pass the other people and return to the right side of the pathway after allowing at least 6 feet between you and the other group.

As the local drinking fountain is temporarily out of service, visitors are encouraged to bring their own drinking water.

Physical improvements

Infrastructure improvements have also been made to facilitate the return of visitors.

A new gate has been installed at the Stanford Avenue entrance to the Dish to allow for separate entry and exit points. Sections of pathways from all gated entrances to the loop are also being striped to indicate lanes for entering and exiting.

The university’s STAY SAFE signage program, already deployed in campus facilities and exterior spaces, has been extended to the Dish area to promote health and safety. Signs will be placed at entry gates and trail markers with information about how to safely navigate the path and pass other people, as well as reminders of guidelines such as the use of face coverings and keeping 6 feet of distance from those not in your household.

As walkers and joggers make their way around the loop, pavement striping is being used to show the correct direction of pedestrian foot traffic. Areas adjacent to the paved pathway connecting the Stanford Avenue gate to the main loop have also been smoothed to provide extra room for maintaining proper distance.

"We’ve carefully worked to balance the need to adhere to public health guidance with preserving what people enjoy most about the Dish," said Swezey Fogarty. "As the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, we’ll continue refining our approach in order to create an enjoyable outdoor experience for the community."


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