Pikes Peak Highway pilots bicycle access in September

Pikes Peak - America’s Mountain, in cooperation with the United States Forest Service, is piloting a program to allow bicycles on the Pikes Peak Highway from Sept. 4 - 30! The agencies will use this test to gather information about the feasibility and compatibility of allowing unescorted bicycle riders on the Highway. All riders must complete a use agreement and liability waiver available at the tollgate acknowledging that they participate at their own risk and children under the age of 18 must be escorted by a parent or legal guardian. Riders should be aware of vehicular and construction traffic and be prepared for changing weather. Riders must pay the regular admission fee or use one of the Pikes Peak - America’s Mountain passes (North Slope fees/passes not eligible) and follow standard traffic rules and use regulations, including hours of operation. Details available here.

Rescheduled Bike to Work Day is Wed. Sept. 12

The Metro Rides Bike to Work Day rescheduled date is Wed., Sept. 12, 2012 at three locations: Pioneers Museum, Salsa Brava Rockrimmon and Salsa Brava Briargate. The City Council Cruise leaves from University Village at 6 a.m. All participants need to register again (even if you registered before) by Sunday, Sept. 9 for free breakfast. If you forget to register in time, you can purchase a breakfast ticket for $5 the day of the event. New info: print and bring your ticket to get your FREE breakfast. With it there is no need to check in upon arrival – just go directly to the breakfast buffet line. Your ticket will be collected there and serve as your raffle ticket for great giveaways. (If you lose or forget your ticket, Metro Rides will be able to replace it only at the location where you registered to attend.) If your employer is participating in a Corporate Challenge Team and/or ONE ON ONE Team Challenge: After you enter "YOUR INFORMATION" proceed to the section directly below "TICKET #" and enter your Company/Organization name and click the ADD button (or select from the drop down menu). The City Team riders will see you there!

Bicycle tour visits new SCAMP public art Sat. Sept. 22

On Saturday, Sept. 22 ride your bicycle and tour seven SCAMP (Summer Community Art and Mural Program) art projects throughout the greater downtown area. In each location neighborhood and community members came out to conceptualize and participate in the creation of mosaics and murals using primarily reused, donated materials. Riders will see works ranging from a sleeping giant to abstract symbolism and geometric patterns. It’s an example of how arts, culture and creativity can help deepen a sense of place and increase vibrancy. The non-profit Concrete Couch and the City of Colorado Springs teamed up with businesses and organizations to make it possible. The bike route will cover five miles (suitable for all skill levels) and begin and end during the Better Block Pikes Peak event. Meet at 8:30 a.m. at the Pikes Peak Avenue Sculpture Garden in the middle of the block (at the current median u-turn between Tejon and Nevada) where bicycle racks and valet bicycle parking will be available.

Experience Better Block Pikes Peak Sept. 21-22

From noon on Friday, Sept. 21 to noon on Saturday, Sept. 22, Colorado Springs will join Better Block projects around the nation that have undergone a living experiment to temporarily improve underutilized urban neighborhoods and streets. The Better Block Pikes Peak project will physically transform one block of Pikes Peak Avenue in Colorado Springs currently home to Downtown’s only 4-star hotel, restaurants and a theatre and other great businesses. Today, this block on Pikes Peak is good– but it has potential to be great. It’s in the heart of downtown with an incredible view to Pikes Peak – America’s Mountain, which is primarily currently enjoyed by parked vehicles. This temporary, 24-hour intervention will demonstrate everyday life with a street designed primarily for pedestrians. The project is led by a group of volunteers, downtown residents and businesses partnered with the City of Colorado Springs. These stakeholders look forward to seeing how people engage with the transformed street, finding out how they like the changes and discovering how Pikes Peak could be improved for the highest and best use of this prominent, historic location. Be forewarned… Better Block events have a history of transforming places into active destinations brimming with life.

Mountain Metropolitan Transit Building Obtains LEED Silver

The Transit Services Division has achieved LEED Silver certification for its building at 1070 Transit Drive. Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) is an international mark of excellence identifying measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions. LEED certifies that the building was designed and built using strategies focused on achieving high performance in key areas such as sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality. The building, completed in 2011, is home to Mountain Metropolitan Transit’s fixed-route service contractor. It uses pre-engineered metal made from scrap steel which is 70 to 90% recycled, insulated metal panels that create a thermal break between the exterior and interior panels, bio-based wall insulation,  quickly renewable wheatboard casework, efficient irrigation, water efficient fixtures and stained concrete floors and exposed ceilings, which result in less waste.

All Pikes Peak Reads: Survival... via Sustainability Photo Snap-off

Colorado Springs Sustainability and Pikes Peak Library District have teamed up to create two photo contests to honor this year’s All Pikes Peak Reads selections surrounding the theme of survival. Whether or not you've read this year’s selections, we can all relate to the need to prepare for devastating emergencies, food security via local food and resource conservation via recycling. Check out the Office of Innovation and Sustainability facebook page next week for a link to the Sustainability Photo Snap-Off! Submit and/or vote on pictures of yourself engaged in actions relating to Recycling and/or Local Food through Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2012. One winner in each category will be selected, based on the number of votes, to win prize totes filled with more than $200 in local, sustainable goods.

  • The Local Food prize contains: a Grant Family Farms sampler share (1 week of medium veggie share, fruit share and 1 dozen farm fresh eggs), Ranch Foods Direct family bundle of Callicrate beef, Pizzaria Rustica gift certificate, Pikes Peak Urban Gardens DVD Guide to Growing Vegetables in the Pikes Peak Region, reusable Waste Management aluminum water bottle and reusable Waste Management grocery bag all packaged in a tote made from reused City banners.
  • The Recycling prize contains: three months of advertising on a Greener Corners bin, a gift certificate for Salvation Army shopping; four Wine Punts drinking glasses made from reused wine bottles; durable REI coffee press mug; reusable Waste Management aluminum water bottle; gift certificate to Ranch Foods Direct; Bestway Recyclerrific t-shirt, hat, first aid kit and reusable grocery bag all packaged in a tote made from reused City banners.

So snap into action entering your pictures early and getting your friends to vote as if the end of the world were near. (You never know, it just might be.) 

City recycling page updated with interactive maps

In Colorado Springs, waste disposal and recycling are provided by private companies. While most local haulers offer affordable single-stream (paper, plastics 1-7, aluminum and glass collected in a single container), curbside recycling to businesses and residents, City staff receive many questions about how and where to recycle for free and where to recycle odd items. The City has partnered with El Paso County staff, keepers of the El Paso County Recycling Directory, to reformat their content as interactive maps and a series of on-line FAQs. Check it out here! The City is further sharing this information through new media as posts on the City’s Office of Innovation and Sustainability’s Facebook/CS.OIS page and on other web mediums. Look for more recycling information to become available as the Rise up For Recycling campaign begins as a part of Give 2012!   

Signs for Life solar mobile classroom gets rolling

Years ago, the City’s Traffic Engineering Division recognized that to get children walking and biking safely requires an awareness of traffic signs and pavement markings. The Signs for Life traffic safety program was born at the City's sign shop, yet demand became too great. The City then was awarded a federal Safe Routes to School grant from the Colorado Department of Transportation to develop a Signs for Life mobile classroom to meet this need. The mobile classroom allows students to identify specific signs and markings and understand their meaning in a fun and interactive setting. The classroom reuses a retired City transit bus retrofitted with an 8-panel 1920-watt solar power system to help power 2 LED flat screen TVs with DVD players and video surround sound. The City of Colorado Springs school safety  and DRIVE SMART COLORADO staff will begin piloting the Signs for Life solar mobile classroom experience in Harrison School District 2 elementary schools this fall. Taking the original safety program to this level has been possible due to partnerships with DRIVE SMART COLORADO, LiveWell Colorado Springs, the Colorado Department of Transportation, Harrison School District 2 and local businesses.

Visitor center opens at Helen Hunt Falls with Canvases in the Caņon on Sept. 8

Bring your family, friends and neighbors to welcome the new visitor center, nicknamed The Cub, and see the nature inspired art show and sale from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 8 (formal dedication at 10:30 a.m.). Music and chocolate confections will sweeten the celebration for North Cheyenne Canon Park at Helen Hunt Falls Visitors Center, 3440 N. Cheyenne Cañon Roadand Starsmore Discovery Center, 2120 S. Cheyenne Cañon Road. At Helen Hunt Falls, try some watercolor plein air techniques from 1 to 5 p.m., become a canvas yourself with face painting, take a free guided walk or chat with characters from Helen Hunt Falls history. Then, on Saturday, Sept. 22 come on back and volunteer your morning at the annual fall Canon Clean-up (lunch provided by La’Aus Taco Shop). Questions? 719-385-6086.

Local Food Week packed with events

Local Food Week educates the public about the farmers and ranchers who grow food in the region as well as where they can access locally produced food. It’s a week filled with fabulous educational events, restaurant specials and entertainment. This year, Local Food Week takes place Saturday, Sept. 8 through Sunday, Sept. 16. Events range from education activities to enable people to grow/raise their own food, ways to buy from local producers and enticements to patronize restaurants who also purchase from local producers. For more information, check out the Peaks to Plains Alliances’ community calendar.

Green Bag Lunch-N-Learn Wed. Sept. 19: What's a food desert and what do we know about them in Colorado Springs?

Food deserts are areas within neighborhoods and communities with limited access to affordable and nutritious foods, especially in relation to socio-economic deprivation. Students at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs (UCCS) and Colorado College (CC) are researching this issue in Colorado Springs to help inform the City and other organizations. At a Wednesday, Sept. 19 Green Bag Lunch-n-Learn, UCCS students Joshua Hendrickson and Brandon Zimmerman as well as CC student Melanie Yemma will share what they’ve learned and seek audience feedback regarding further research needs. A basic assumption behind the growing interest in food deserts is that those without reasonable access to healthy food may eat poorer diets putting themselves at greater health risk. It’s relevant because community services addressing food security, individual self-reliance, healthy eating education and access to food can use this information to help target service areas for maximum benefit. The lunch-n-learn runs over the noon lunch hour, from 12:11 to 12: 49 p.m., at the City Administration Building, 30 S. Nevada, in Suite 102. Attendees are encouraged to bring and enjoy their lunches during the presentation. Those who come have the opportunity to win a door prize tote bag made from reused banners. Each month, the City Office of Innovation and Sustainability sponsors a lunch-n-learn topic on an environmental issue. This month’s topic supports the Pikes Peak Library District’s All Pikes Peak Reads theme of survival and book selection of Margret Atwood’s Year of the Flood.

Up-coming eco events:

Environmental Sustainability E-Newsletter from the City of Colorado Springs

Question? (719) 385-CSGN (2746) or cmccausland@springsgov.com.