Colorado Springs Smart Team 2018 Smart Infrastructure Challenge

In partnership with the local developers, Colorado Springs Utilities, the Downtown Partnership, and others, the City of Colorado Springs is working to transform Southwest Downtown into a technology-enabled smart district.

From 1950 to today the population of the City of Colorado Springs has increased from 45,472 to over 450,000 and to 196 square miles. The City has over 7,000 acres of vacant developable land in core areas, including the project area of Southwest Downtown. The boundaries for this project are Colorado Ave to the north, Cascade Ave to the east, Cimarron St to the south, and I-25 to the west. Today, the City’s Southwest Downtown is a blighted area and functions as a former industrial-heavy part of the core on both sides of the railroad. The area west of the railroad includes America the Beautiful Park, industrial buildings, warehouses and vacant land. The area east of the railroad includes industrial land and buildings, some retail uses, parking lots, several El Paso County service buildings, one parking structure and several commercial businesses.

As one of the few opportunities for urban revitalization of this scale in the state, Southwest Downtown is now poised to become Colorado’s most sustainable and smart urban neighborhood. Breaking ground on the Country’s only U.S. Olympic Museum in 2017 elevated the Southwest Downtown from an afterthought to an opportunity to develop an active, smart and sustainable district. Private development of mixed-use housing, retail, hospitality and commercial spaces with 1.6 million square feet begins later this year, a multimodal transportation hub will be constructed over the next few years, and the City has already begun plans for drastically improving infrastructure in the area. The new infrastructure will include curb-less street design, high quality materials, signature streetscape, and sustainable stormwater management practices that provides a significant connection and interaction with the U.S. Olympic Museum plaza. Upon completion, this project will have rehabilitated sidewalks, drainage and roadways across 4 key core blocks in Southwest Downtown.

Olympic City USA

The City seeks to leverage the activity and investment occurring in Southwest Downtown, which includes a projected increase of 275 jobs, annual employment output of $33,768,823, and an increase of $116,217,773 in assessed property value within Southwest Downtown to develop a smart district, in partnership with the local developers, Colorado Springs Utilities, the Downtown Partnership, and others.

Although built on a set of simple principles for smart cities and sustainability, this project leverages passive and active technologies to make them a reality – all with the goal of making Southwest Downtown a safer, more attractive, livable neighborhood and source of pride for the city and state. To create this environment, the City will invest in and deploy interactive kiosks that provide enhanced wayfinding, transportation mobility options, and can provide emergency alerts as needed. The City will also will install LED streetlights that have a longer life than traditional high pressure sodium street lighting systems, require less maintenance and have reduced operating costs and incorporate smart technologies and sensors on the streetlights to enhance safety and the visitor experience. Working closely with the parking enterprise, the City will deploy smart parking meters and EV charging stations throughout the district. A cross-departmental and cross-agency team of the City is currently identifying the scope of the Southwest Downtown smart district and the associated technology and infrastructure needs to support these efforts.

Together, these components transforms this area from unsafe, unsmart and unattractive to a smart urban district that is not only pedestrian and bicycle friendly, but also, in its design and smart streetscaping, encouraging and welcoming to all.

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