Design interns to study solutions for mountain gridlock
VAIL – For 160 miles from Denver to Colorado’s mountain resorts, Interstate 70 is an economic lifeline for the state’s $6.9 billion annual tourism industry.But traffic is strangling that connection. Tourism experts predict that by 2050, this section of interstate will cease to function for day-trippers and out-of-state destination tourists. Congestion also vexes residents and businesses in the mountain communities.Design Workshop, a landscape architecture, planning, and urban design firm with three Colorado offices, is dedicating a 10-day student “charrette,” or workshop, to find solutions to mountain gridlock and overflowing parking around resorts.Titled “Convey, Collect, Connect-Alternative Transportation in the Colorado Rockies,” the workshop launches Design Workshop’s annual summer student internship program. Design Workshop has chosen five student interns (from more than 80 applicants) in landscape architecture, architecture, planning, and urban design to take part.The interns are:n Kenneth Cheung, an architecture student at Cornell University. He will work in Design Workshop’s Vail office.n Fenglin Du, a master’s in landscape architecture (MLA) student at Texas A & M University, will join Design Workshop’s Aspen office. She has a degree in Communications and a BA in Architecture from Tsinghua University in China.n Gweneth Newman, an MLA student at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, also joins the Aspen office. She has a degree in natural resources from the University of Michigan.n Kotchakorn Vora-Akhom , a student of landscape architecture at Chulalongkorn University in Thailand, joins Design Workshop’s Denver office. “Kotch” also attended the University of Canberra in Australia and was a member of the faculty of environmental design.n Erik McMurray, a BLA student at Colorado State University, also joins the Denver office. Erik is an intern for the U.S. Forest Service and was a first lieutenant for the U.S. Coast Guard from 1997 to 1999. He is the Program Coordinator for the Student Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects at CSU.While based in Design Workshop’s Vail office from May 29 to June 7, the interns will work with officials from I-70 communities to study a variety of solutions, including highway improvements, passenger rail, transit-oriented development and new parking configurations. The students will conclude the exercise by producing a plan with drawings and text and making recommendations to officials.”The interns will work closely with Design Workshop’s staff to examine innovative solutions and then test their political feasibility,” said Sue Oberliesen, director of Design Workshop’s internship program. When studying passenger rail, the interns will consider the location and design of stations in I-70 communities such as Eagle and Idaho Springs. They will be encouraged to envision ways to create “people places’ with plazas, cafes, and shops around the stations they propose.During the process, interns will take a fresh look at one proposal that has been tabled: a 160-mile monorail from Denver International Airport to Eagle. In November, voters rejected Amendment 26, which called for allocating $50 million from the state’s surplus to build a monorail demonstration project.”The students will study the monorail because it still poses the greatest potential for statewide alternative transit in decades to come,” said Pedro Campos of Design Workshop’s Vail office. “But it is only one possibility for the future. Every transit mode – monorail, light rail, or traditional rail – poses the same issues. New transportation centers will be places where several modes of transit will converge. How should these be located and designed? How they will affect every community’s existing roads, trails, transit systems, and neighborhoods? These are the questions the student work will investigate.”Since 1985, Design Workshop’s internship workshops have contributed to communities where the firm is located. Previous efforts have addressed improvements to Skyline Park and the Brighton Boulevard corridor in Denver. After the workshop, students will work as paid interns in one of Design Workshop’s offices for 10 to 12 weeks.Founded in 1969, Design Workshop practices sustainable design and planning on sites ranging from inner cities to resorts and national parks. The firm has received more than 70 national awards for design and planning. Design Workshop has 123 employees in nine offices in North America, including Jackson, Wyo., and three offices in South America.
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