Better Block projects have been popping up nation-wide, and on Sept 21-22 Colorado Springs will join the movement.  By identifying underutilized urban neighborhoods and streets, Better Block projects have a history of transforming places into active destinations brimming with life.
Better Block Pikes Peak project is led by a group of volunteers, businesses, and partnered with the City of Colorado Springs.  The project is to transform a section of Pikes Peak Avenue in downtown Colorado Springs currently populated with Downtown’s only 4-Star Hotel, restaurants, a theatre among other great businesses. Today, this one block stretch of Pikes Peak is a “good block” – but it has great potential to be a “great block.”
Pikes Peak Avenue is approximately five-blocks in the heart of downtown with an incredible view corridor of Pikes Peak – America’s Mountain.   John Olson, who is leading the effort states”The view of Pikes Peak is an incredible amenity.  At our city’s founding, this street was purposefully laid out to be very wide to capture this incredible view.  But now the street – with the most incredible vista in our downtown –serves as vehicle storages with parked cars in its center island.  A group of us leading this “Better Block”   have long asked ourselves why this historic street with the greatest vista in heart of downtown has a foreground image of parked cars in its median?  Is this the highest and best use of this prominent street?”
The Better Block group is planning a living experiment to find out the answer to this question.  This temporary transformation involves an intervention of the street for a 24-hour period to demonstrate everyday life on Pikes Peak Avenue with the street designed for the pedestrian, not their car.
Nick Kittle, Colorado Springs Manager of Administrative Services and Innovation said “This project is a potential game-changer in urban planning because the group is doing an actual live implementation instead of relying on typical urban planning tools, like drawing up plans, to communicate the idea.  In this way, city employees, planners and citizens can actually EXPERIENCE the concept.   This gives us opportunity to gather information of what works and what doesn’t before capital investment, and puts us leaps and bounds ahead of the typical planning cycle.  Decision makers in our city will potentially learn from this project”
Better Block Pikes Peak looks forward to seeing how people engage with the  transformed street  and hear from citizens whether they like it, how it can be improved.
Date:                                     *September 21, 2012 (Beginning at Noon) to September 22 at Noon.
Location:                              Pikes Peak Avenue (Between Nevada and Tejon)
* In the case of minor inclement weather events (heavy rain); the demonstration may be delayed. In case of a major weather event or natural disaster, the demonstration will be postponed to September 28 – September 29.

Image Courtesy of EVstudio Planning.

Image Courtesy of HB&A Planning in Colorado Springs.

Please “Like” Better Block Pikes Peak on Facebook for up-to-date progress and view the process of making a better block in Colorado Springs!
Press Coverage:
Building Block from the Colorado Springs Independent
‘Urban Intervention’ tests downtown pedestrian space from the Colorado Springs Business Journal
Group plans ‘Better Block’ downtown for 24 hours from the Colorado Springs Gazette