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First Friday Shuttle Bus host Peter Tuff stands ready to welcome riders to the First Friday Shuttle Bus in April. - MIKE PACH
  • Mike Pach
  • First Friday Shuttle Bus host Peter Tuff stands ready to welcome riders to the First Friday Shuttle Bus in April.
The First Friday ArtWalk shuttle bus — a program of the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region — drives a fare-free route on First Fridays between Manitou Springs, Old Colorado City and downtown Colorado Springs, with resident artists on each shuttle to provide an artist perspective on the region and occasionally serenade their riders. The easy transit encouraged more participation in First Fridays in 2018 — with upwards of 1,600 rides since April — and its final run in December comes just in time for the holiday shopping season.

Two buses make a continuous loop between Downtown Colorado Springs and Old Colorado City, and a third bus makes a continuous loop between Old Colorado City and Manitou Springs. The stop in Old Colorado City serves as a transfer point.

Visitors to all three communities will at the very least benefit from the lack of a parking-induced headache, especially during the peak shopping season. But this expansion also speaks to greater opportunities ahead.

"The bus has really been a catalyst to get the three districts on the same page, and start a conversation around the idea of a 'creative corridor,'" says shuttle program coordinator Jonathan Toman.
On March 27, Colorado Springs City Council passed a resolution to establish Manitou Springs, Old Colorado City and Downtown Colorado Springs as a creative corridor. The Manitou Springs Council did the same on April 3.

All three communities seem to be excited about the possibility of collaboration. “The connection and creativity that exist between our three communities along Colorado [and] Manitou Avenue are worth celebrating and promoting,” Natalie Johnson, executive director of the Manitou Springs Creative District, told the Indy.



In another interview with the Indy, Claire Swinford, urban engagement manager of the Downtown Partnership, said “we’re already blessed with a constellation of outstandingly collaborative creative communities. That being the case, the main benefit of the Creative Corridor project will be to harness the collective strength of Downtown, Manitou and Old Colorado City to fuel new programs and services for those communities.” She cited the shuttle bus as a perfect example.

The shuttle's upcoming Dec. 7 run, the last one until spring 2019, is a great way to continue to support local art in these creative corridors, knock out some local holiday shopping, and avoid holiday traffic all the while. The shuttle schedule, stop locations, and gallery information are available at PeakRadar.com/FirstFriday.

A version of this story originally appeared in the March 28, 2018 issue of the Independent.

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