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City plans to build garage, remove trees

New parking facility, police headquarters will require removal of 35 trees

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As Palo Alto looks to launch construction of a parking garage near California Avenue, city crews are preparing to remove 35 trees to accommodate the structure as well as the new police headquarters.

The construction of the garage, which has been in the planning stages for nearly five years, is set to kick off next week, the city announced Monday. The 636-space structure at 350 Sherman Ave. is expected to be completed in 2020, at which point the city will start building the new public-safety building at an adjacent lot at 250 Sherman Ave.

The police building is set to be completed in 2022.

But before the city adds these two structures, it will have to remove nearly three dozen trees, according to the Public Works Department. The city's announcement notes that the trees tagged for removal will "likely not survive removal and replanting elsewhere due to inadequate root systems from being planted and grown in a paved parking lot."

The city is also planning to remove and mill the largest tree at the site, a coastal redwood, and use the wood from the tree as part of constructing either this project or another city facility, according to the announcement.

The city also plans to include 21 new trees at the parking garage site, as well as 35 new trees on the lot that will house the police building. The city also plans to plant trees at several off-site locations, which will "contribute to the overall canopy of the area."

"It is estimated that future canopy growth will be equivalent in about 15 years and will be much enhanced in years following due to the additional trees and off-site plantings," the city's announcement states.

Tree removal has been a particularly touchy subject around California Avenue since September 2009, when city officials surprised and outraged local residents and merchants by chopping down more than 60 holly oaks to pave the way for a streetscape project at the city's "second downtown."

City officials plan to host a walk-through for the public of the sites on Friday at 2:30 p.m. Members of the public will have a chance the learn more about these projects as well as the upcoming tree removals.

The two capital projects are both included in the City Council's 2014 infrastructure plan. Both won approval in the fall of 2018, despite rapidly rising price tags. The garage is currently set to cost about $50 million, while the public-safety building is expected to exceed $106 million.


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5 people like this
Posted by Mark
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 15, 2019 at 11:10 am

The Council and/or Planning needs to require posting tree removal signs during the *planning* process instead of allowing projects to surprise citizens with tree removal signs at the end when it’s a fait accompli.

2 people like this
Posted by Tree Removals were part of the plans.
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 15, 2019 at 11:47 am

Tree Removals were part of the plans. is a registered user.

Tree removals were cited and noted and part of the plans that were approved.

Like this comment
Posted by Tod ford
a resident of Green Acres
on Jan 15, 2019 at 4:54 pm

Great! There should be more trees.... and staggered in time and well managed sounds great. Nice note about milling the redwood. A lot of evergreens and large trees have grown too big.

2 people like this
Posted by Oh well...
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 16, 2019 at 5:29 am

Yea! Who doesn't want a multi-story parking garage in their neighborhood. I guess the Palo Alto police finally get their monumental headquarters after years of moaning and complaining about their current facility. The new police station is expected to "exceed $106,000,000" according to city estimates. So the city doesn't even know how much it will cost? Good grief!

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