RR Design Competition


The UniverCity Urban Lab, in cooperation with the Fort Collins Downtown Development Authority and the City of Fort Collins, will host a public design competition in the spring of 2016. The objective will be to address the ollins Downtown Development Authority and the City of Fort Collins, willhe interaction between the BNSF Railroad and the public space on Mason St. between the CSU campus and Old Town, with the initial focus being on the stretch of Mason between Laurel and Mulberry.

Mason Street is an important north-south thoroughfare in the city. In many ways, it is the ‘service road’ of the city, providing a back entrance to the blocks of commercial and dining establishments that face College Avenue, one block to the east. The most unique feature of Mason Street is the 18 foot wide BNSF Railroad right of way that runs down the center of the street. Multiple times each day, diesel engines pulling dozens of freight cars rumble down the street creating a noisy, unsightly (depending upon one’s inclinations) and potentially dangerous pedestrian environment. Conversations stop and traffic comes a halt, sometimes for ten minutes or more, as the engines blare their horns through the length of Old Town.

In order to make better use of this centrally-located street and make it more appealing for development, in 2014 the city launched a new Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line called MAX that connects Old Town to the University and the many neighborhoods on the south side of the city.

Mason Aerial

The Competition

The Urban Lab will invite design groups nationally and internationally to offer their solutions for the improvement of the streetscape from sidewalk to sidewalk, excluding the railroad tracks and trench, and will host three open houses between late 2014 and early 2015 for public input and discussion.

Possible improvements to the streetscape include:

  • Public Art
  • Landscaping
  • Creative Lighting
  • Improved pedestrian connections
  • Improved bicycle safety measures
  • Modified parking regulations
  • Flexible public spaces
  • Seating Solutions

Centered on the Mason Street transportation corridor, the Urban Lab is challenging professional designers, artists, students and others to propose improvements to the Mason Street Downtown Corridor, excluding the railroad right-of-way, which will enhance vehicle safety and the pedestrian environment. The goal of the competition is to inspire design possibilities that create a unique and memorable experience for those who visit the area. Possible changes might include pedestrian and vehicular safety, sidewalk enhancement and public art.

Mason Footprints


January 31st, 2016: Q&A Deadline

February 14th, 2016: Early Bird Registration Deadline

April 30th, 2016: Submission Deadline

Entry Fee

Early Bird Registration: US $15 for student design teams, US $35 for professional design teams

General Registration: US $25 for student design teams, US $50 for professional design teams 

Sponsors and Partners

Urban Lab


City of Fort Collins

Jeff Lebesch and Zia Zybko

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