Downtown Parking Problems?

While this article from the Gazette is a start, this post is nearly as relevant today as it was 5 years ago. The management of parking will not occur in a progressive manner without discourse, but Cities must be willing to to make change for the betterment of the community and it’s patrons.

Urban Landscapes

“Nobody goes there anymore, it’s too crowded.”

This of course is one of the quotes that is credited to Yogi Berra. The quote is an oxymoron, however it is repeated on a regular basis in a variety of manners. Probably the way that is most often stated in Colorado Springs is as follows:

“Downtown is dying, nobody goes there because you can’t find a place to park.”

Have you made this statement before? It’s okay, I won’t call anybody out, but chances are, this has been stated by you, or at a minimum, to you. This statement is a fallacy unless you are talking about a place that literally does not have any parking (I’m not sure that a place like this exists in the United States). I hear it in Downtown Colorado Springs often. Yes, there are places to park. Downtown has on-street parking on the majority of its…

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Helping to Create a Greater Colorado Springs

As a part of our commitment to creating a better Colorado Springs, I have been proud to be have worked with several non-profit organizations or funded projects while at ALC. I have a great deal of compassion for each of the organizations that we worked with and happily offered discounts on our services. Included projects were as follows:

1. Springs Rescue Mission: Landscape Architect for the Phase II of Master Plan. Sub-Consultant to Echo Architecture (Phase I completed as a sub-consultant to RTA Architects). (Landscape Development PlanDrawings and Landscape Construction Drawings).

SRM - RTA - 01
The Courtyard of the Springs Rescue Mission, a project in collaboration with RTA Architects. Photo credit: RTA Architects

2. Springs Food Rescue: Landscape Architect and Civil Engineer for new facility located at the southern end of Institute Street near Downtown (Civil and Landscape Development Plan and Constructon Drawings).

3. Concrete Coyote (Couch): Plannner and Civil Engineer for the Planned Learning Lab and Workshop for the non-profit organization. (Rezoning, Civil Engineering Development Plan Drawings and Civil Construction Drawings)

4. Working Fusion at Mill Street (Neighborhood): Land Surveyor, Planner, Civil Engineer and Landscape Architect for the 18-unit Tiny Home Development aimed to assist otherwise homeless individuals and small families. (Rezoning, Development Plan, and Construction Drawings).

Beyond Colorado Springs, we also proudly worked with the Gateway Prayer Garden along I-25 in Fountain in creating a place for individuals of all religions to contemplate and pray.

As I move forward, outside of ALC, I intend to maintain discounted services to similar organizations, including a project that while its not a non-profit, I am providing 3D rendering services for the much-anticipated Bread & Butter Market. This is an exciting project for our City, it has been needed for over a decade and am thrilled to work with Bread & Butter!

Moving on to the Next Chapter

After nearly six years of employment at Altitude Land Consultants, time has come for me to move on. I have enjoyed my time with ALC and am grateful for the relationships within the company and with all of the great clients that I’ve met and worked with to better our community.

When I first began this journey, it was with two friends that took a chance on me and put me under their umbrella of ALC. The plan was to run a new office (Colorado Springs) and discipline (planning & landscape architecture) for them, as if it were still run as my own. Five plus years have passed and we have done great things together, including some projects that I believe have pushed the Colorado Springs community to a more economically robust and sustainable place. But more importantly, we have have created a great infrastructure of personnel that I’m proud to have had a part in. Although I am moving on, I am leaving this legacy with a great team that I believe is better than when it started.

Thank you DJ and Karl for believing in me and being steadfast friends. Thank you also to those that I’ve been in the trenches with over the years in Denver, and definitely Colorado Springs. You will always have a place in my heart.

So onward I go, into a company with a placeholder name only (Urban Landscapes LLC, but suggestions are more than welcome), but more importantly a mission. I have always believed that people do their best work when they’re doing what they love. This is very true for me, when I work on projects that I care deeply about or enjoy, they become much more of a hobby. I think this is something engrained in designers – work isn’t work when it’s your passion. I love when clients come with what may seem to be an insurmountable problem, or when they have a concept that on the surface seems so logical, yet bends or even breaks what the code allows. I love these discussions with City Planners, Planning Commission and City Council, as this is the type of work that I want and love to do and is needed for economic prosperity, sustainability, and creating lovable places. My goal and plan moving forward is to work more closely with the jurisdictions, specifically in the Pikes Peak Region, to bring change that creates community and decreases our dependence on the automobile.

With that, I’ve always felt that the best way to understand that is to garner the perspective of the City Planners. Today, I have a sense and respect of what happens from the other side of the counter. I see the high level of impact that the government side can have, of which I want to be a part. I’ve been able to push the needle on the micro scale of development for the past 16 years in Colorado Springs toward greater infill and lower dependency on the automobile, but I want to push it more. My goal and plan is to start my own, more-focused company which will still make micro-scale pushes for pedestrian-friendly places, but also get into the trenches of government for a “Strong Towns” approach at the macro-scale. We shall see where this leads, but I have been encouraged by the few that I have shared this with up to this post and have great confidence and excitement of what is ahead in my next 40 years.

See you around friends, Happy Thanksgiving!