California Department of Transportation

Landscape Architecture Awards and Recognition

Welcome to the Landscape Architecture Program's Awards and Recognition home page. The intent of this site is to share with Caltrans and our community partners the diversity of good work performed by Caltrans Landscape Architecture professionals statewide. This site highlights awards, publications, and other notable efforts by Caltrans Landscape Architects, Landscape Associates, and Landscape Technicians.

For information on how to apply for awards programs or get an article published, contact your HQ Landscape Architecture Program District Coordinator.

Updated Main Street, California Guidance Released

Caltrans Main Street, California

The Main Street guide is a comprehensive evaluation of main street concepts to help Caltrans, agency partners, and local stakeholders improve the vitality of main streets that also function as state highways. Six hundred internal and external stakeholders helped shape the update of this document. Some design solutions highlighted in this booklet will be familiar to readers, other solutions feature slight variations of traditional strategies, while still others will entail a new, broader vision of how main streets can benefit both travelers and the local community.

See article in Caltrans CT News.

District 6 Landscape Architecture Office Receives LEED® Platinum Certification for Philip Raine Safety Roadside Rest Area (SRRA)

Philip Raine SRRA

The Philip S. Raine Safety Roadside Rest Area, located on State Route 99 in District 6 north of Tipton, has been awarded a Platinum ‘Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design’ (LEED) certification from the US Green Building Council (USGBC). This is the highest possible environmental rating by the USGBC and an example of outstanding work produced by a team of Caltrans designers. Lead by the Central Region Landscape Architecture office (Rick Cole, Corby Kilmer and Gloria Ramirez) along with Caltrans Headquarters Landscape Architecture Program (Suzy Namba and Lori Butler) and Caltrans Division of Engineering Services (James Lacy and Martin Fraser.), this project epitomizes what is possible with good communication and positive attitudes. The entire project team deserves kudos for their hard work, perseverance and dedication to creating an exemplary facility for the traveling public.

See the article online in Caltrans CT Newsletter.

National Landscape Architecture Month

LA Month Resolution

The California State Legislature recently voted and passed a formal resolution, graciously sponsored by Speaker of the Assembly John A. Perez, recognizing April as National Landscape Architecture Month. The resolution "recognizes the legacy of Landscape Architects [in the public and private section] in shaping and protecting California landscapes," for the purpose of landscape preservation, development and enhancement. April 26 has been selected historically as the day for public outreach for the profession, as it is the birthday of Frederick Law Olmsted (1822-1903), the father of landscape architecture, designer of New York City’s Central Park, and founder of the American Society of Landscape Architects in 1899.

More than 3,000 Landscape Architects are currently licensed to practice in California under the authority of the Landscape Architecture Practice Act, with Caltrans employing about 230, serving in the Divisions of Design, Construction, Project Management, Environmental, Office Engineer, Maintenance and Permits. They have worked as District Directors, HQ Deputy Directors, Deputy District Directors, and Project Managers. Landscape Architects can provide a professional perspective on local, context sensitive issues, visual assessment, complete streets, multi-modal mobility, assess complex environmental conditions, encourage sustainable design solutions, prepare corridor planning studies, administer construction projects, and guide long-term maintenance solutions for our roadsides. Take a Landscape Architect to lunch in your District to understand how their technical expertise can facilitate your project’s deliverables.


CSS National Dialog

Shandon SRRA

Corby Kilmer, project manager and Landscape Architect in Caltrans District 5, was recently honored as the Shandon Safety Roadside Rest Area was selected at the CSS National Dialog 2 Workshop in Sacramento as an exemplary CSS case study project. Sponsored by the FHWA, North Carolina State University ITE, and Parsons, the Sacramento workshop was one of 9 workshops nationwide that highlighted transportation projects or programs that featured notable Context Sensitive Soutions.

A 30-year-old under-performing facility, the Shandon SRRA had exceeded its design life. The only rest area on a major highway corridor between the Central Valley and the Coast, Caltrans rehabilitated this facility with a focus upon both safety and sustainability. Improvements included security cameras and pedestrian lighting for safety, office space for the California Highway Patrol, a state-of-the-art waste system that helps prevent high nitrate groundwater levels, drought-tolerant landscaping, clerestory windows to reduce artificial lighting needs, and solar switches for interior and exterior lights.

The goals of the CSS National Dialog 2 Workshop are to: Deliver CSS principles and practices to a wide array of partner organizations; Strengthen and broaden the constituency for CSS; Discover new opportunities for partnerships; Bring new perspectives to the practice of planning, designing, building, operating and maintaining transportation facilities; and Foster a community of CSS practice

View the archived Sacramento Workshop online at:



PECGCaltrans Caltrans Landscape Architect Corby Kilmer (pictured 2nd from left) was honored with the Professional Achievement Award at PECG’s 50th Anniversary Celebration on September 15, 2012. This award is given to a state-employed engineer or related professional who has demonstrated outstanding professional excellence. Corby is the first Landscape Architect in the history of PECG to receive this professional recognition.

“This is the most prestigious award that PECG gives,” noted Keith Robinson, Principal Landscape Architect for Caltrans, “and is much deserved by Corby for her sustained and exemplary work …and especially her work toward improving the Safety Roadside Rest Area System.” In presenting the award to Corby, PECG President John Roberts remarked that Corby’s career has been “dedicated to quality and innovative work on the Caltrans Safety Roadside Rest Area capital program. She delivers her projects on time and within budget – leading to awards, national recognition, and letters of appreciation from the traveling public.”

Corby received her BSLA from Cal Poly in 1989 and is a Landscape Architect at Caltrans District 5 in San Luis Obispo, CA.

Photo by

Excellence in Transportation Awards

Caltrans annual Excellence in Transportation (EIT) Award honors the best transportation project across the state. Conducted annually, this competition serves to recognize excellence in transportation design, construction, traffic operations, maintenance, planning, and other improvements throughout the state.

Caltrans districts and corporate programs, local agencies and others, including their consultants and contractors, may enter any project located in California designed or constructed by that agency, firm, or person(s). The entry must be a public transportation improvement or new project completed in the last three calendar years inclusive of the current year, and presently in use.

For more information on the Excellence in Transportation Awards Program, please visit

2013 Context Sensitive Solutions category

Rincon Hill Dog Park

Caltrans, District 4
San Francisco Department of Public Works
South Beach | Rincon | Mission Bay Neighborhood Association
City and County of San Francisco Real Estate Division

rincon dog park

The Rincon Hill Dog Park came from a partnership between Caltrans, the Bay Area Toll Authority, the California Transportation Commission, the San Francisco Department of Public Works, and the Rincon Hill community. The park is at the base of the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge, in a residential area and was previously leased and operated as a parking lot. With the bridge’s seismic retrofit construction, the corner became a blight of weeds and chain-link fencing. Residents expressed their desire to see the area developed as a public space. The dog park fills a void in a densely developed section of San Francisco and provides a small but valuable natural setting. The park and the slope above it provide a pleasant natural habitat with birds, flowering shrubs, and annual grasses. Nighttime lights accent the approach structure’s dramatic architecture, and the park’s design allows different uses simultaneously. Interpretive and historical displays near the street allow visibility and access to passers-by. Small-group seating areas face the streets and the Bay, making socialization easy. With a 30 percent dog-ownership rate in the community, the dog run areas meet an important neighborhood need. The park has quickly become a central part of the neighborhood for residents, as well as San Francisco visitors.

2012 Transportation Related Facilities category

Hunter Hill Safety Roadside Rest Area

Caltrans, District 4
Mark Thomas and Company
West Bay Builders

Hunter Hill Safety Roadside Rest Area

The District 4 Office of Landscape Architecture was the responsible lead for delivery of the Hunter Hill Safety Roadside Rest Area (SRRA) project to upgrade the existing single-unit Hunter Hill SRRA in Solano County. The District 4 Office of Landscape Architecture lead the PDT that included internal and external stakeholders including Transportation Architecture and the consultants. The Landscape Architecture Office also participated in the Value Analysis team for this project and implemented additive bidding under a pilot program. The Hunter Hill This project was designed to showcase the unique beauty of the Hunter Hill rest area location, as well as the site’s role as an entrance to the expansive and diverse urban bay area. Significant features include breathtaking views of the San Francisco Bay Area, and preservation of the natural flow of site runoff. Plants were chosen based on their aesthetic and environmental compatibility with flora of the surrounding hillsides. The site composition creates exterior “spaces” that respond to the path of the sun, wind currents and breezes, is sheltered from traffic noise, and captures magnificent views from various vantage points. The new construction enhances the panoramic views, provides new features, such as a vending machine area, clean and modern restroom facilities, pet area, and a peaceful picnic area with plenty of space to run around, stretch your legs or sit and rest.

2011 Context Sensitive Solutions Category

District 5 Landscape Architecture won two statewide EIT awards this year. First, the South Street Corridor Rehabilitation "Road Diet" won the Context Sensitive Solutions category. The project Landscape Architect was Katherine Brown. This project serves as an excellent example of the collaborative effort put forth by the surrounding neighborhood, the local San Luis Obispo agencies, and Caltrans. The result was a context sensitive project that successfully meets the needs of pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists along this corridor. Along with other improvements, this project featured a "road diet" along South Street. A road diet is a transportation planning technique where the number of travel lanes are reduced to achieve systematic improvements that enhance overall community livability. Other District Landscape Architects involved with this project included Peter New, Pete Riegelhuth, and Jo Jackson.

South Street Road Diet Awards


2011 Transportation Related Facilities category

A second project in District 5, the Camp Roberts Safety Roadside Rest Area, won the Transportation Related Facility category. Corby Kilmer was the Project Landscape Architect. Other District Landscape Architecture staff involved include Jo Jackson, Scott Dowlan, Linda Baker, Pat Bolger, Peter New, Tim Richards, Joseph Arnold, and Pete Riegelhuth.

Camp Roberts Safety Roadside Rest Area

For more information on the Excellence in Transportation Awards Program, please visit

2010: The Highway (Rural) Category

Sunflower II Project - District 5 Landscape Architecture Office

Sunflower Project

2009: Transportation Related Facilities Category

Vista point at San Rafael Bridge, Richmond, CA. - Caltrans District 4 Landscape Architecture Office

san Rafael Bridge

2009: Context Sensitive Solutions Category

Mandella Parkway Corridor Improvement Project - District 4 Landscape Architecture

Mandella Parkway

2008: Intermodal Transportation Category

Interstate 5 International Friendship Plaza, San Diego, CA. - District 11 Landscape Architecture Office

Friendship Plaza San Diego


H. Dana Bowers Roadside Rest Area - District 4 Landscape Architecture Office

Bowers Safetyn Roadside Rest Area


2003 Excellence In Transportation/ TRANNY Award- Environs Enhancement "Route 160 Visual Improvements at Route 50.
District 3 Landscape Architecture Office.

Route 50 EHEI Award Winner

FHWA Exemplary Human Environment Initiatives Annual Awards

For more information on the Exemplary Human Environmental Initiatives Awards, please visit

2011 FHWA Exemplary Human Environment Initiatives

The District 6 Landscape Architecture office won the national award in the Exemplary Ecosystems Initiatives category for the Madera Pools Restoration and Mitigation project. Recipients include the District Landscape Architect Elbert Cox, and Landscape Associates Michael Mills and Sherry Alexander. Click here to view detailed information on the Madera Pools project.

Madera Vernal Pools Restoration Project 2011 EHEI Awards Photo
2011 FHWA EHEI award winning Madera Pools Restoration and Mitigation Project. Sharri Bender Ehlert, District 6 Acting Director (center), with Vincent Mammano, FHWA California Division Administrator and Acting Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty accept the FHWA EHEI award on behalf of Elbert Cox, District Landscape Architect.

2009: Joint EHEI/EEI Recognition

At the June 16, 2010, Director/District Directors' meeting, FHWA presented a 2009 Exemplary Human Environment Initiative (EHEI) award to the Caltrans' North Region Landscape Architecture office for their Northern California Revegetation Program. Caltrans recipients included Ken Murray, District 3 Landscape Architect, Ron Flory District 1 & 2 Landscape Architect, and Ken and Ron's staff - Clare Golec, Roxanne Haatvedt, Steve Michaelson, Nellie Hamilton and Monica Finn. Landscape Architects interested in entering this competition should click here to view the Caltrans North Region Revegetation Program application.

Awards Photo
Keith Robinson, Principal Landscape Architect, accepted the 2009 EHEI award on behalf of North Region Landscape Architecture, shown here with Sue Kiser, FHWA, left, and Caltrans Director Cindy McKim.

2009: Caltrans Northern California Re-Vegetation Program

Caltrans District 3 Landscape Architecture Office. Click here for more information on this project

Cedar Creek Revegetation

2008: Non motorized Use Category

Interstate 5 International Friendship Plaza, San Diego, CA. - District 11 Landscape Architecture Office

Friendship Plaza


FHWA Excellence in Highway Design Biennial Awards

For more detailed information on the FHWA Excellence in Highway Design Awards, please visit

2010: Award of Excellence, Rural Highways: Freeways

US Route 395, Black Rock Four-Lane, Inyo County

Hwy 395 Blackrock

The Blackrock Four-Lane Project converted 14.3 miles of two-lane highway to four-lane expressway with a 100-foot median, using the latest engineering tools and taking extraordinary care to preserve unique environmental features. Retaining native landscaping wherever possible eliminated the need for irrigation systems and reduced the long term maintenance while preserving the natural scenic quality of the corridor.

Designer: California Department of Transportation

Contractor: SKANSA USA Civil West

Owner: California Department of Transportation

2010: Honorable Mention, Rural Highways: Freeways

US Route 395, Sherwin Summit Rehabilitation, Inyo County


Sherwin Summit

The Sherwin Summit Rehabilitation Project consisted of rehabilitating pavement, widening shoulders and medians, improving culverts and drainage, modifying chain-up areas, and relocating utilities. This project is noteworthy for preserving and blending with the spectacular rock outcrops of the Volcanic Tablelands.

Designer: California Department of Transportation

Contractor: Sierra Nevada Construction, Inc.

Owner: California Department of Transportation

2008: Honorable Mention, Intermodal Transportation Facilities

Interstate 5 International Friendship Plaza, San Diego, CA. - District 11 Landscape Architecture Office

Friendship Plaza


AASHTO Center for Environmental Excellence

For more detailed information on AASHTO Center for Environmental Excellence Awards, please visit

2005: Best Practices in Context Sensitive Solutions Category

Highway 1 Median Barrier Project, San Luis Obispo, CA. District 5 Landscape Architecture Office

Caltrans Aesthetic Concrete Barrier Route 1


California Transportation Foundation (CTF) Awards

CTF Logo Small

The CTF announced CTF Transportation Awards Winners and Finalists for transportation excellence. "The Transportation Awards jury, made up of public and private sector transportation professionals, enjoyed reviewing the tremendous nominations this year," said Sarah West, CTF Executive Director. "Our selections represent the best of the projects, programs and people who made a positive difference for California transportation"

2012 CTF Award, Rest Area Project of the Year

Shandon Safety Roadside Rest Area (Caltrans District 5)

Driver safety in Central California has been increased by the revitalization and expanded functionality of the recently remodeled Shandon SRRA. The improved facility features an innovative new wastewater treatment system which reduces nitrate contamination in groundwater. This subsurface wetland system is the first of its kind at a California Rest Area, and will act as a model for similar “green” designs planned for rest areas throughout the State. Shandon is an exceptional project due to the creative approaches that were used to balance community, aesthetic, historic, and environmental values with transportation safety, maintenance, and performance goals.


2010 CTF Award, Pedestrian/Bicycle Project of the Year Finalist

Boron Safety Roadside Rest Area (Caltrans District 6)

Boron Safety Roadside Rest Area

The Central Region Landscape Architecture offices project Boron Safety Roadside Rest Area was selected as a finalist in the Pedestrian/Bicycle Project of the Year category. Landscape Architecture staff involved in the project include District 6 Landscape Architect Elbert Cox and Landscape Associates R. Steve Miller in District 9 and District 10 Landscape Architect Rick Cole.