Public Works

Public Works provides services integral to our community on a daily basis. Our department's mission is to provide quality services with commitment, courtesy and pride. In partnership with the Palo Alto community, we strive to offer efficient, cost effective and environmentally responsible services that make Palo Alto a beautiful, vibrant and appealing City in which to live and work. The Public Works Department is comprised of a three divisions and numerous workgroups.  Public Works staff that typically are related to development services are the Engineering Services Division, Environmental Services Division and the Urban Forestry section of the Public Services Division.

Engineering Services

Engineering Services provides Engineering support to the private development community for construction in the right-of-way. View the Public Works Forms and Permits page for more information.

Environmental Services

Environmental Services operates and maintains the Regional Water Quality Control Plant; maintains a Pretreatment Program for control of industrial and commercial dischargers; provides pollution prevention information and programs to residents and businesses; manages the City’s solid waste programs.

Urban Forestry

Urban Forestry is responsible for the maintenance of Palo Alto's Public Trees and Urban Forest. Staff inspects and ensures that tree protection standards are met and permits are properly issued and enforced. Visit the Public Works Urban Forestry page to learn more about our Urban Forest.

Construction in Downtown Area During the Holidays

Construction in the public right-of-way in downtown Palo Alto is generally not permitted during the holiday season between Thanksgiving and New Years, because of the negative impact on retailers and shoppers. The areas covered by this restriction are defined as the University Avenue and the California Avenue parking assessment districts. Restricted work includes street closures, lane reductions, sidewalk closures and parking lot closures. If possible, such work should be delayed until after the New Year. If not, the work should be reviewed carefully to assure that its impact on shoppers is minimal and must not be more than one day’s duration, with that day preferably being a Saturday. Close coordination with the Transportation Division is recommended.