Join us Friday, October 8 for celebration and ribbon cutting ceremony.
10:00 am: Street Turtle Yoga Class with Kat and Venus the Tortoise
11:00 am: Turtle Dance Party with live music
12:00 pm: Ribbon cutting ceremony
“Turtle Crossing” Street Safety Pilot Project Mural Installation: October 4-8
As part of #ArtsOctober, some 12 local artists are giving their time and talent to paint a family of giant, colorful turtles on El Paso Blvd. in just five days. The pilot project, which is privately funded by Smokebrush Foundation, will create a street safety mural that will allow the City of Manitou Springs to test the effectiveness of this treatment to improve stop sign compliance and slow traffic near important crosswalks.
What Are We Trying to Do?
El Paso Boulevard is a key thoroughfare in the community. Not only does it offer an alternative to the traffic volume of Manitou Avenue, it’s also an important bus, bicycle, and pedestrian route. Sight lines and topography make the Washington Ave./El Paso Blvd./Old Man’s Trail intersections particularly challenging for drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists to navigate. Residents report at least 12 motor collisions with bikes in the past six years.
As a result, these intersections are a hub of pedestrian crosswalks and amenities, and our recent Transportation and Mobility Master Plan identified the Hiawatha Gardens mobility hub as critical to the success of our multi-modal future. Our goal is to protect and inspire our community by creating street art that will emphasize bicycle/pedestrian spaces on El Paso Blvd through turtle-inspired imagery. In similar projects around the country, cities have seen up to a 60% improvement in stop sign and speed limit compliance.
Who Is Behind this Asphalt Art?
In early spring of 2021, the City of Manitou Springs asked the Creative District to explore a pilot project that would allow the community to test the effectiveness of an asphalt art mural to help slow traffic on El Paso Blvd. and increase stop sign compliance and crosswalk awareness between Seven Minute Springs and Memorial Parks.
Volunteers from PaCMan: Ped and Cycle, Manitou Springs partnered with us to measure speeds and transportation modes in July of 2021. In just two hours on a Saturday morning in mid-July, volunteers tracked 663 cars, 338 pedestrians, 1 wheelchair user, 38 bicycles, 3 skateboards, and 1 moped. 54 of those cars and trucks failed to stop at the stop signs, which is an ongoing problem reported by both City of Manitou Springs staff and and Sunwater Spa operators. That means almost 40% of the traffic on that section of El Paso Blvd. was composed of pedestrians and non-motorized vehicles during one of our busiest weekends.
Who Are the Artists?
The art team will be lead by Kat Tudor and Mani Pulido with Concrete Couch collaboration. These are experienced public art installers who are volunteering their time and talent out of concern for their friends and neighbors.
Who Is Funding This?
The cost of the paint and materials for this pilot project is privately funded by Smokebrush Foundation.
The turtle is a symbol of patience, longevity, endurance, and life itself. The art team will create highly visible families of turtles on key areas connecting Seven Minute Springs Park, Memorial Park, Hiawatha Gardens, and Sunwater Spa on or near El Paso Blvd. Turtles are slow-moving, thoughtful creatures and we hope the project will result in slower-moving cars and more thoughtful drivers.