The Public Safety Building landscape and site design privileges the public pedestrian realm.  Each of the four frontages are treated somewhat uniquely, yet they are designed to create a unified streetscape that enhances the pedestrian experience for the California Avenue neighbors and residents.  The civic perimeter of the Public Safety Building provides broad walking areas and amenities to the surrounding community members that pass by each day on their way to and from their homes, office and California Avenue.  The new landscape of the Public Safety Building is meant to reinforce the Police forces role in the lively Cal Avenue neighborhood as good neighbors and important guardians of community.

The Birch Street frontage is a generous tree-framed sidewalk completed by the streetscape in front of the Garage across Birch.  The broad stair and welcoming ramp lead from the intersection of Birch and Sherman Avenue to the Public Safety building entry. Seating opportunities are integrated into the plantings that face this wide sidewalk at the Birch Plaza and turn the corner along Sherman Avenue.  As well opportunities for rain gardens and native plantings occur in several areas of the plaza. A row of columnar ginkgos define the edge of the plaza and provide shade and seasonality to the entry experience.

Along Sherman Avenue the streetscape design creates a sheltered building level paseo and a street level walkway with a “ribbon” of rain gardens, raised planters and seating that invite pedestrians to linger for conversation or meet at lunch time.

Along Park Boulevard the sidewalk is broadened and raised rain gardens with seating amenities create an active and broad pedestrian zone, and a bike-focused mini-plaza nearest California Avenue replete with a bicycle repair station and bicycle racks.

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Along Jacaranda there is a lovely walled courtyard for staff and employees. This walled garden includes smaller scape tree planting of Arbutus and Olive trees with bench seating for staff to meet and take breaks.

Completed: In Progress

LOCATION: Palo Alto

CLIENT:  Ross Drulis Cusenbery Architects

SCOPE: Landscape Architecture, Schematic Design through Construction Administration

Diverse street tree plantings line three of the frontages and help us to meet the City’s urban forestry plan goals through the selection of native species and the use of pavement support systems to provide significant rooting area for successful street trees.

A diverse palette of habitat-producing understory plantings has been developed to include the following typologies:  rain garden plantings, native and adapted grasses and flowering perennials, and courtyard plantings. On Birch Street the emphasis is on ornamental and native grasses and flowering and ground covering perennials and low shrubs. On Sherman species will include open shrubs such as Western Redbud, native and ornamental grasses, sedges, rushes, California natives.  The plantings at the Park Boulevard frontage will include an alternating rhythm of rain gardens and meadow grasses and shade tolerant understory plants. At Jacaranda Street trailing shrubs will grace the walls and planters.