Today Cubberly Park is a hodge-podge of historical artifacts, buildings, neglected courtyards, former classrooms, open sports fields without shade, windy tennis courts, trailers, old broken roads still partially in use
Our overall goal for Cubberly is to transform this nearly forgotten 38 acre parcel into something more resembling an active Community Center and Nature+Sports Park, in many ways similar in feel to how is Rinconada Park today.
Cubberly in context of the overall eco-scape:
The Blue lines show the river/creek channels that form this landscape, dark green are community-owned built areas such as schools, community art centers, etc. Light green are Parks.
Cubberly is on entirely flat land. Of note is the historical flow of Adobe Creek along Charleston Road, just beyond the North edge of the Cubberly area. Charleston Center on the North edge has a grocery store, restaurants, cafes, ice-cream, coffee, a cleaners, a nail salon, and a weekend-active pet store.
Palo Alto Parks Master Plan recommendations:
This conception changes Cubberly very little from what it is today: a place for parents to drop off the kids at the soccer and baseball fields.
We have had a large number of conversations with residents and neighbors living near Cubberly.
We also made a number of days of observations of existing use patterns.
For example, the Sports Fields are often empty of sports in the afternoons, and the local residents most days use the area for a Dog Park, which is sorely lacking in this part of town
Map key: Blue is soccer and baseball fields. Light Green areas are full-fledged park+picnic areas and trails. Dark green is otherwise native wooded areas and community gardens:
Generally speaking our hope is to see Cubberly Park transformed from a Drop-off Area to a Destination, where people come to walk and sit, with children and dogs playing, to enjoy local art, to sample local food and lifestyles
We show trails going all around the park areas, that is, a perimeter trail with bisecting trail through the middle, giving people a place to come for a nice walk, and separating the park from surrounding built areas. Trails through the sports fields provide tree shade for parents to watch their children, and reduce the afternoon winds that plague the fields all summer
All Native planting and landscaping, Interpretive Area along Middlefield
We propose going natural in restoring Cubberly back to its original beauty. The Interpretive Garden along Middlefield explains the plant species used, and provides intellectual food for their relation to the landscape, and the natural connection to the Baylands
Perimeter Trail, Wooded bisecting trails, Middlefield/Nelson Drive connecting trail
One way to really make a park work as a destination is to have coherent trails, the simplest model of which is a perimeter trail with a connecting trail through the middle.
Our conception shows a perimeter trail that wraps around the sports fields, and then has two bisecting trails through that also function as shady spectator areas for the soccer and baseball games. A wooded horizontal bisecting trail goes by the Tennis Courts (prototype sample below in Appendix)
The North Trail connects the Green Meadow neighborhood at Nelson Drive to Middlefield Road, moves through Three Oaks Park, and provides access to the Charleston Center
The South Trail provides access to the Auditorium and proceeds out to Middlefield along the Community Gardens
Open Meadow–Mixed use and mitigation of windy areas in the open sports areas
The sports fields today also function as Dog Meadow, and to enhance this mixed usage we show shady areas for spectators, forage places for dogs, and a naturalistic open meadow design
At the north end of Cubberly are three very ancient oaks, at the time of this proposal this is the primeval, a window into the original nature of the park.
At lunch time, many people get their food at Piazza market, and then picnic near or on the Cubberly grounds on the north side under and around the Three Oaks area
In another proposal (Three Oaks Park proposal) we demonstrate how this can be converted from a neglected parking area into a very nice picnicking spot next to the Dance Studios
Kiosks and food trucks
A lack of food+social hospitality on the Cubberly grounds was a complaint of many of the local residents.
A couple of possible areas are provided on the map that would make good food truck zones, and a kiosk that could be under contract from the Ice Cream store in the Charleston Center or the Piazza, or another private party
Art and Work Studios
Currently a number of art and work studios are home at Cubberly, as PAUSD acquires jurisdiction from Foothill College, we expect this kind of community usage to continue and expand.
The combination of small studio together with friendly, social courtyards connecting them in a common fabric is a great feature of Cubberly, one we can enhance and build upon
Use of inner courtyards for shady native Oak plantings and grow-over
Without major redesign of the building structures, the inner courtyards can be enhanced, and Oaks planted and cultivated that will go above the one-story structures, connecting the courtyards (e.g. from the Bird’s point of view) into a coherent landscape as they mature.
Under the shade of these areas, kids can play, local artists can display their work, together with other information boards about ongoing work and events, and an open wall for spontaneous expression and school projects
A quiet, peaceful sculpture garden to sit and enjoy works from the local community, or just relax
We propose a strip of community gardens on the South edge near Middlefield Road, which will give a feel of active community to passersby, and a place for people in this part of town to grow organic vegetables in a social setting.
Some sample design guidance / prototypes:
Look of typical ‘Meadow’ from local landscape, savannah/oak woodlands
Wooded Bisecting Trail between tennis courts and building (Cuesta Park, Mountain View)
bisecting wooded trail in formation leading between the soccer/baseball areas
grow-over oaks for interstitial areas
three-oaks park area