I-26 Design Forum Organized
to Utilize Public Ideas
The I-26 Coordinating Committee, the North Carolina Department of Transportation, and the City of Asheville have jointly announced that the I-26 Design Forum will take place on Friday, July 21, and Saturday, July 22, at the Renaissance Asheville Hotel, 31 Woodfin Street.
The design forum, which is the second event organized by the I-26 Coordinating Committee as part of a public input process, will be structured so that individuals interested in participating can drop by for designated sessions to gather ideas on specific elements of the project.
On Friday, July 21, 2000, sessions will be held from:
10:00 - 11:30 a.m.
1:30 - 3:00 p.m.
3:30 - 5:00 p.m.
7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
The sessions are structured so citizens can attend the one that best fits their schedule. At each of the session times listed above, participants will break into four different groups that will discuss the following issues:
- Patton Avenue interchange design
- Other interchange design issues, including bicycle and pedestrian connections
- Visual and aesthetic issues, including gateway issues and bridge and overpass design
- General technical issues including safety, maintenance of traffic, constructability, design speed, and number of lanes.
On Saturday, July 22, participants will hear a brief summation of information gathered on Friday and will then break into smaller groups to discuss the I-26 Connector Project as a whole. This session will take place from 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
According to Drew Joyner, I-26 Connector project manager, "We hope that participants will attend the forum on both Friday and Saturday. This will give them the best opportunity for input; however, attending on both days is not necessary."
Leading the discussions will be Fred B. Craig, Jr., vice president and area manager for Parsons Brinckerhoff Quade & Douglas Inc., an internationally known engineering firm that specializes in transportation issues. Craig is an experienced engineering program manager with an extensive track record of developing and executing conceptual and developmental plans for public and private facilities.
Many knowledgeable professionals will be in attendance at the forum. North Carolina Department of Transportation management and staff, representatives from the Federal Highway Administration, top interchange designers, structural engineers, local architects, traffic engineers, and City of Asheville staff will all be in attendance. These professionals will help to answer questions, provide information, and work with the participants to generate ideas and design changes to improve the project.
"Having the opportunity for such high level participation in the design of this project is definitely a historical event in this community," stated Scott Shuford, City Planning and Development director. "This has been an excellent partnership between the North Carolina Department of Transportation and the citizens of Asheville."
Information gathered at the forum will be compiled into a recommendations report by the I-26 Coordinating Committee, which will be presented to the Metropolitan Planning Organization and the Asheville City Council. The North Carolina Department of Transportation will use the information where feasible to revise the project.
"We expect this to be a wonderful opportunity for the community to assist in improving the I-26 Connector Project," stated Joyner. "In addition, our commitment to Asheville is to continue to keep the community involved through the various phases of the project."
Click here to go to the July 14 Asheville Citizen-Times article examining I-26 options. For further background, please visit the I-26 Connector Group website and MAIN's I-26: What Citizens Can Do.