Helipad at New UCSF Hospital Raises Neighborhood Concerns

A new hospital in San Francisco is delivering neighborhood concerns.

When the UCSF Medical Center in Mission Bay officially opens Sunday it will feature a helipad, which officials estimate will be used about 40 times a month for transport.

"Safety, especially with weather," resident Michael Conway said of his concerns with a helicopter flying through his neighborhood. "And the noise -- don't mind during the day, but at midnight I don't want to hear a helicopter."

UCSF said helicopters will only be used to access the Benioff Children's Hospital carrying children or pregnant mothers in life-threatening emergencies. The helipad will not be used for trauma scene transport or routine transport, officials said.

Officials said the helicopter's primary flight path will be mostly over the bay.

Neighbor Paul Yi said current noise is not a problem, but he had no idea he just moved next to a helipad cleared for landing beginning Sunday.

"Maybe I won't hear it," he said. "Maybe it will wake me up all the time."

In Potrero Hill, Sam Palmer said the new hospital is already delivering more traffic. He is hoping the helicopter will be less noticeable because he believes it is necessary.

"If you are hurt and you want best medical care, you want it as fast as possible," he said.

UCSF said it has worked with neighbors on the helipad plan for years and is expecting feedback.

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