From a ‘Good Block’ to a ‘Better Block’ in Downtown Colorado Springs

Several advocates in Colorado Springs met on June 7 to begin the conversation of a Better Block in Colorado Springs.(For more information on what a Better Block is, see BetterBlock.org or a local example near Downtown Denver, Better Block Jefferson Park).

The decision was made to go a little different from the traditional Better Block projects, in doing the demonstration on a block that was not deteriorated. We chose to take on a block that is/was ‘good’, but in the heart of Downtown Colorado Springs. The block will be Pikes Peak Avenue between Nevada and Tejon.

Pikes Peak Avenue today. Photo Credit: Bing.com Maps.

For those of you familiar with Colorado Springs, you will note that this is at the nexus of downtown and perhaps wonder why here? The idea is that by showing what could happen here, could demonstrate what could happen all over Downtown Colorado Springs. The individual ideas generated and components of this Better Block could be applied throughout the region.

This location, and really Colorado Springs as a whole, has one of the best natural environments directly west of the City, Pikes Peak. Meanwhile the built environment of the city has grown to be automobile-dominated. The potential for a world-class city is present, we only need to tap the resource and build off of it. Pikes Peak Avenue was designed to capitalize on the amazing terminated vista of Pikes Peak. Today, the right-of-way is large, as it should be, for the impact of the view. However, the ratio of automobile to pedestrian places is heavily weighted toward the automobile. With the collective brilliance of many Colorado Springs Downtown advocates and the engagement of the Downtown and City leaders, we will demonstrate the immense possibilities on September 21 & September 22 of 2012.

A photo from what appears to be the 1950’s or 1960’s of Pikes Peak from Nevada to Cascade. The hotel at the terminus shown in the photo has been replaced with a newer version of the same hotel, The Antler’s Hilton. Photo Credit: Panoramio User ForwardLook

If you are interested in learning more, or getting involved, please send me an email or comment below. My email address is john@evstudio.com. We would love the assistance of any and all to transform the iconic block of Pikes Peak from a ‘Good Block’ to a ‘Better Block’.

The following photographs were of the initial meeting for Better Block Pikes Peak, held on Thursday, June 7 at the Lowell Pocket Park at Weber and Las Animas.

Photo Credit: Ji Soo Park, EV Studio Planning.
Photo Credit: Ji Soo Park, EV Studio Planning.
Photo Credit: Ji Soo Park, EV Studio Planning.
Photo Credit: Ji Soo Park, EV Studio Planning.
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3 Comments

  1. The photo of the 1950s view of Pikes Peak up Nevada to Cascade is nostalgic and brings back good memories for me. So to suggest that it may be skewed or flawed toward cars and not people becomes a bit difficult to accept. The only change or addition I would have made to that view would have been to not replace the Antler Hotel with the newer version that is short on asthetics and add a landscaped median down the length of the street. Perhaps even add sculpture or a water feature to the area. However, my suggestions don’t really contain a sustainable feature so they may not be the best. One issue of making any street space more people friendly in CS is the issue that people friendly spaces tend to attract the homeless which we have a lot of in CS. And while I would never suggest the homeless should be excluded their presence does bring the inevitable conflict with law enforcement and a city code which makes declares it is illegal to be homeless in Colorado Springs. Changes or improvement to any urban landscape only make sense when they are absolutely required or when they contribute back to the community with jobs and opportunity for that community. If our community is going to implement changes with the labor of foreign contractors and suppliers the protests should be loud and long.

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