Lunch on the Hump

The automobile has become the defining component of how cities have developed since the inception of the automobile. Cities, in their governing structures, need to really think how responsible that this is. Is there a Return on the Investment (ROI) on building for the automobile, or is it simply an on-going money pit?

There is no need to get into it too much on this blog when Strong Towns does a daily blog challenging this exact notion. According to their website (

The Strong Towns approach ultimately requires a reorientation of emphasis and a renewed understanding of what it takes to build a town or a neighborhood.

The current approach to growth emphasizes investments in new infrastructure to serve or induce new development. This approach uses public dollars inefficiently, destructively subsidizes one type of development over another and leaves massive maintenance liabilities to future generations.

A Strong Town approach emphasizes obtaining a higher return on existing infrastructure investments. We can no longer simply disregard old investments in favor of new, but instead we need to focus on making better use of that which we are already committed to publicly maintain.

Tomorrow, Wednesday, we will challenge one facet of the notion of building and beautifying for the automobile. We will have what we are calling “Lunch on the Hump.” An event that started a year ago when one of Colorado Springs’ architect’s Ryan Lloyd dined in the median.

Lunch on the Hump, 2013

Lunch on the Hump, 2013

This is not meant to be putting down, or dissing, the design and aesthetic that was put toward the landscape in the median, but rather raising discourse of why this was done? Could it have been more than it is? Is there a place for “people” in our public spaces, our parks (the medians in this area are maintained by City Parks), or was this simply to add aesthetic for the automobile?

Join us for “Lunch on the Hump”:

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Finding our way to walkability with pedestrian signs

ImageDowntown Colorado Springs is packed with cultural, recreational, retail and dining opportunities. There are hundreds of things to do within a few minutes on foot from anywhere in the downtown core – and we can prove it.

Today, Colorado Springs Urban Intervention is hanging almost 100 pedestrian way-finding signs downtown.

You might have noticed the big green downtown signs on many of the intersections. But most people haven’t. They blend in. The maps are dated and the destinations are boring. On top of all that, they’re kind of car oriented. The Downtown Partnership is working on a plan to more permanently improve those.

In the mean time, CSUI is installing a colorful temporary solution. Our beautiful signs, artfully designed free of charge by talented graphic designer Tiffany Schmid, point pedestrians to restaurants, bars, shops, recreation and parking.

We point out the extreme walkability of our city by noting on each sign how long a walk will take. Most are just a few minutes.

Left out

We do not name any for-profit businesses by name, though we do point people toward them using generic terms. We didn’t include names because we didn’t want to make the signs into advertisements.

Of course, we couldn’t point pedestrians to every business. And we apologize if we left yours out. We didn’t do it intentionally and we hope you will forgive us our omissions.

Where this comes from

These signs are an experiment. They’re designed to get people excited about downtown, to make people aware of just how walkable the city’s core is and how easy it is to park in a garage and go the rest of the way on foot.

We also suspect that some of our signs will make even downtown regulars aware of a place or two they didn’t know about before.

We hope you are as excited about this project as we are and see its value or at least appreciate the sentiment behind it.

Support CSUI

If you like our project, please consider making a donation to CSUI. We want to do more innovative projects like this one and will need to rebuild our bank account.

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Top Down or Bottom Up: An Interview with Colorado Public Radio

John Olson, of CSUI, spoke with Colorado Public Radio a couple weeks ago about Tactical Urbanism. The discussion was about the inclusiveness of Government in interventions and experiences from the Public Sector in Denver and the organizational level in Colorado Springs with CSUI.

Story and Audio:


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Do YOU have an Intervention Idea that You want to See in our Area?

We want to hear from YOU! Join your peers of Urban Intervention on Thursday, March 13 at the “Machine Shop”, an innovative very new (not quite finished), co-working space at 4 South Wahsatch Avenue in Downtown Colorado Springs.

We want to hear your thoughts in a brief 7-minute presentation of what you would like to see happen. Your ideas don’t have to be in Downtown Colorado Springs, in fact they don’t even have to be IN Colorado Springs. They just need to be accessible and cool ideas! Join us, present, or simply observe and be ready to assist. We will have a computer and projector ready and yes, we are encouraging a Pecha Kucha format (20 slides, 20 seconds each).

The audience will decide on at least one intervention from the evening to take on, and you’ll have many hands in assisting making your intervention ideas a reality! For ideas and inspiration, a great article on Tactical Urbanism can be found here:

A great Denver resource of Tactical Urbanism can be found here:

And of course we post many ideas and thoughts on interventions on our Facebook Page here:

For those who are unaware of what Colorado Springs Urban Intervention is, please check the About Section. The brief synopsis is that we are a multi-award-winning organization of people who get $hit done. In the past two years, we have won awards from USGBC Colorado, Colorado Springs Downtown Partnership, and Fort Carson for Better Block Pikes Peak and Curbside Cuisine.

Hope to see you there, follow the comments at this web page for updates on the event!

Date: February 13, 2014
Time: 5:30 pm – ?


Location: The Machine Shop, 4 South Wahsatch
An Architectural Rendering of the Machine Shop, currently under construction, provided by Echo Architecture.

An Architectural Rendering of the Machine Shop, currently under construction, provided by Echo Architecture.

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Help Us Find Our Way To Walkability

Colorado Springs Urban Intervention is planning a new project and we need your help.

Our mission:
We want to show visitors and downtown regulars alike just how walkable downtown Colorado Springs really is.

Our means:
We will place temporary pedestrian wayfinding signs on the existing downtown wayfinding signs, which you might not have ever noticed as they tend to blend in and fail offer much direction.

The signposts are located on the northwest and southeast corners of all intersections along Tejon between Vermijo and Platte and on the southeast corners along Cascade and northwest corners along Nevada.

How you can help:
The next step in the process is to plan out which signs will go where and how they will all fit together. In order to do that, we need several eager volunteers and perhaps their helpful friends to take a couple blank cardboard pieces and zip ties out with a list of destinations and their imaginations.

When and where you can help:
If you want to help us plan out these downtown wayfinding signs, meet up with us at Phantom Canyon at 4 p.m. on Thursday, March 6. When we’re all finished, we can celebrate with drinks. The more people we have helping, the sooner we’ll get to happy hour, so invite you’re friends to help. We’ll give you more detail and direction when you arrive.

Contact Amanda if you have questions or comments:

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Better Block Pikes Peak Video – 2012

It has been one year since a community of “do-ers” came together to demonstrate how a prominent good street in Downtown Colorado Springs could be a Great Street for People! Please explore our prior blog posts for statistics and valuable data that came from Better Block Pikes Peak.

The Art of Better Block Pikes Peak:
Better Block Pikes Peak Vehicular Traffic Data:
Time Lapse Video from Better Block Pikes Peak:

Enjoy our video as we celebrate the accomplishments from Better Block Pikes Peak, 2012.

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Introducing Curbside Cuisine: Colorado Springs Premier Food Truck Park


Press Release Curbside Cuisine 4/22/2013

The Food Trucks are Coming! The Food Trucks are Coming

Great news! Curbside Cuisine, Colorado Spring’s own food truck mall is ready to fly! We have found a terrific downtown location next to the Downtown YMCA at the corner of Nevada and Platte across from Palmer High School and Acacia Park at 225 North Nevada Avenue. Where once there was a gas station and car repair service, you will soon find Curbside Cuisine. The property is owned by the YMCA who is one of our key partners in this venture. General Palmer and his horse oversee a very busy intersection that is perfect. Opening Day is projected for May 15! We are hoping you will be part of this exciting, new project which is a clear signal of change for downtown Colorado Springs.

Spend a few minutes in the space and you will be amazed at the number of pedestrians who are in the immediate area — students and staff from Palmer High School, YMCA members before and after a workout, downtown residents who cross through Acacia Park on their way to an appointment, office workers escaping from their offices at lunch time, bike riders with children in tow. Add to that easy parking for the high volume of vehicles on Nevada and Platte who will turn in and find super easy parking.

The transformation from a broken down corner in our downtown to a bustling, vibrant happening will be fast and wonderfully exciting. There is a lot to do and we are ready to start. Here is the plan:

  • First we are going to transform what has become an eyesore… power wash the building, repair the canopies, hang banners from the existing sign posts, and add paint… lots of paint! Remember the transformation for Better Block? Using the Better Block model, we are lining up a ton of volunteers to help with a warp speed cleanup, add greenery in the big horse troughs, add chalkboard art, and painted tires to completely change the space.
  • Imagine 6-8 food trucks or trailers setup facing Nevada Avenue with a line of folks waiting to place orders, the menu signs out front, diners sitting under the canopies or walking across the street to the park to eat at one of the unique street food choices, and you are part of a new downtown experience. Make plans to join us as we help transform downtown Colorado Springs.
  • No more need to drive around to find your favorite food truck. Here they are all in one place ready to tempt you with breakfast crepes, barbeque smoked wings, wood-fired pizza, organic juices, Korean kimchi tacos, poor boys, gumbo, mini bundt cakes and desserts.

Curbside Cuisine’s primary goal is to provide a food truck pod in downtown Colorado Springs which will give unique street food options. Curbside Cuisine is a semi-permanent installation that will enhance the walkable environment and provide outdoor dining in an under-utilized space in the center of our downtown area. With the launch of Curbside Cuisine, Colorado Springs will join the highly successful models of Portland, Austin, San Francisco, and Denver who have helped launch culinary entrepreneurs while creating 15%+ gains in pedestrian traffic for nearby businesses.

The local concept is the brainchild of a group of downtown advocates who are excited to be doing something to enhance our community. As an Organizing Team, we have resisted the urge to overcomplicate the initial steps leading to startup, but rather have chosen to act. We found in the Colorado Springs Urban Intervention (CSUI) at the Pikes Peak Community Foundation a group of like-minded folks willing to serve as our not-for-profit organizational structure. The Organizing Team serves as an intermediary between the independent food truck vendors and CSUI.

Curbside Cuisine will contract with food truck owners for space on a month-to-month basis who are selected on their unique, freshly created, healthy food offerings sold in price range from $ 5.00-$8.00. The selection criteria will include the décor of the truck/trailer, the uniqueness of the menu, and the quality of the products. Hours of operation are 6:30am to 8:00pm, seven days a week. To maximize offerings during the high demand lunch hour and cover the breakfast and evening openings, vendors will be able to select either a morning/lunch or a lunch/evening schedule. Trucks/Trailers will remain on-site for the length of the contract with overnight security provided. The large amount of real estate at 225 North Nevada allows for future expansion to include up to 15 food trucks and 2-3 related businesses to occupy the existing structure. We are committed to operating Curbside Cuisine with a goal of zero waste and encouraging vendors to use local food suppliers where possible.

We are looking for volunteers and a few unique additions to our food truck options. Interested?

Contact: Sandra Vanderstoep 719-330-8979




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