J. David Thorpe of Colorado Springs and Michael Copeland of Denver present their plans for a green infrastructure in downtown Colorado Springs.

At the beginning of June, CNU Colorado was asked to participate in the AIA Colorado South Liveable Communities charrette/ workshop for the Pikes Peak Region.  The workshop was held on the beautiful Colorado College campus just north of downtown Colorado Springs.  There were various presentations and topics throughout the charrette/workshop including an opening evening of pecha kucha presentations from various non-profit organizations and governing entities around the Pikes Peak Region.  The following days were filled with putting pen to paper and exploring various topics around the city.  Topics during the workshop included downtown, transit opportunities, redevelopment, clean energy and net-zero neighborhoods.

Re-envisioned Academy Boulevard corridor with greater connectivity and infill development (including the Citadel Mall).

It was a great workshop that included many talented designers, architects and advocates from around the region.  When given the choice of areas of interest, I focused on the area of Academy Boulevard and re-imagining the opportunities along the corridor.  For those who are not familiar with Colorado Springs, Academy Boulevard is a former state highway that was once “vehicle vibrant” with strip-mall activity and fast food restaurants. I like to think of Academy as a street that is now “littered with opportunities”.  It has a high concentration of people today who are prone to walking and using transit, yet the environment of abandoned strip retail and vacated buildings is not the most conducive to walking.  Similar streets are present in every city across the country with similar characteristics.  The vacated commercial properties create large, mostly single-owner parcels ready for redevelopment.
There is currently a study in progress to discover the opportunities of transit and hopefully decreasing the lane width of the current 6-lane arterial.  The city of Colorado Springs is also conducting an in-house land use study parallel to the consultant’s study of the road itself.  For those who are interested, there is a public meeting to discuss Academy Boulevard tomorrow, Thursday, June 24.  It will be held at Sierra High School from 4:30 – 6:30 pm.  In a follow-up post to this post, I will present my thoughts and ideas about Academy Boulevard and what vision that I have for the corridor.
For the presentation that I gave on new urbanism at the AIA Colorado South Liveable Communities workshop, see the following link:  CNU-CO