Caught speeding in Colorado Springs?

It’s possible that I might have been speeding. It’s possible that on East Platte, where the speed limit is an inexplicable 35 mph, I might have been going 45, along with every single other vehicle.

So I ended up in traffic court for a long morning of bureaucratic silliness that, if you’ve never experienced it, is worth talking about just a little bit.

It is very easy to get pulled over in Colorado Springs: Lots of random speed limits that change abruptly. I’ve lived in other cities where speeding or rolling stops are just not very high on the police priority list. Other cities, where police are busy with things like solving crimes. According to the National Motorists Association, in a CNBC report, Colorado Springs is the nation’s fourth-worst city for speed traps with 186 of them  (Houston is first; Denver is sixth, by the way).

“Speed limits are supposed to be based on factual studies of traffic and what the majority of motorists deem as a safe speed,” said Chad Dornsife, director of the Highway Safety Group . “Now, the posted limit has become a revenue generator – not a safety device.”

There’s one speed trap I notice every night coming home from work. Each night between 10:30 and 11:30, there are police on Nevada Avenue between Boulder and St. Vrain hiding in parking lots. Sometimes two cars are parked there, and the police are just talking to each other for a long time. Wonder what they’re talking about. Important Cop Stuff, probably.


View One speed trap in a larger map

Anyway, if you’re in Colorado Springs for very long, you can probably bet on ending up in traffic court at some point. What to expect? Good question.

I’m a big fan of paying things online and being done with them. That’s why I love the new red-light cameras: You get caught running a red light, they send you a picture, you pay the fine, and everyone moves on with their lives. It’s quick, efficient, convenient. You get punished, the city gets money. Win-win.

With traffic court, if you’re unfortunate to end up in this morass of ridiculousness, bring a book (or a smart phone with a cool game like blackjack on it). You’ll be here a while. It will go like this:

  • At check-in, you’ll walk up to the bench and the clerk will pull your paperwork. If you didn’t have proof of insurance when you were pulled over, this is where you’ll provide it.The clerk delivers all the paperwork to the prosecutors.
  • Have a seat. Relax. Text your friends. Post on Facebook. And be sure to check out all the fun people. It’s a good opportunity for people-watching.The court has a television in the room that will play a video explaining your rights. You probably won’t be able to hear it, and it’s all the stuff you already know, unless you’ve never seen any prime-time crime drama. It’s the court equivalent of your flight attendant explaining how your seat belt works.
  • At some point, the prosecutors return your paperwork to you. Typically, there is a “plea agreement” being offered. But don’t get all excited thinking that you’re going to get out of this without paying the exact same amount you would have otherwise. They’re getting their money. But as a reward for sitting through all this silliness, you don’t get as many points taken off your license.
  • You’ll have some time to look over the deal they’re offering you. In my case, for example, the city prosecutors wanted me to lie and plead guilty to having “obstructed windows.” A fellow speeder next to me was being asked to plead guilty to a “defective headlamp.” (Sidenote: Some curious language on the paperwork. Some violations are the violations themselves: defective headlamp; unsafe vehicle. But others are the opposite: “reasonable and prudent speed”; “windows unobstructed” — so technically I’m pleading guilty to having unobstructed windows.) There’s a box on the paperwork detailing the fine. For speeding, it’s $10 per mph over the speed limit. So in my case, it was $100. So even though I wasn’t pleading guilty to speeding, I’m still paying the fine for speeding. It’s all just some silly bureaucratic sleight of hand. What’s the point? Who knows.
  • After what seems like hours and hours, the judge will finally come in to lend some kind of credibility to this whole farce. Today’s judge was a William Cogswell, who kept having to tell people to remove their hats. I find it kind of interesting that he is concerned about Joe Mechanic’s ballcap, but Shredded-T-Shirt Teenager with Spiked Collar doesn’t faze him. Whatever.
  • The judge will call you up to the podium one by one. One by excruciating one. He will read off a script: Shredded-T-Shirt Kid, you are charged with violating 10.5.104 of Colorado Statute blahblahblah, how do you plead? (Guilty) You’ve seen the video and understand your rights? (Yes) Do you have anything to say to me before I pronounce sentence? (No). The court accepts your guilty plea and requires you to pay $100 fine, $20 court costs, and a $15 surcharge (true). You can pay the fine in room 108. Multiply this by 87 people (I counted). And this is just the morning session. There’s an afternoon. So let’s say this is an average number. This means that Colorado Springs is rolling through about 900 people a week. And I didn’t see a single person whose fine was less than mine. So let’s be conservative and say the city’s pulling in at least $6 million a year from traffic court alone. This isn’t counting those who are allowed the mercy of paying online. That’s some pretty good cash.
  • At this point, you’re free to go. What took two-and-a-half hours could have taken 10 minutes online. Basically, you go in, the city asks you to lie, then they take your money, and you go home — or like most of the people there, back to work. I’m sure everyone’s jobs are flexible enough to allow for hours sitting in court. And I’m sure everyone’s bosses are totally reasonable and understanding.
Tryin' to catch me ridin' dirty.

Do I know how fast I was going? Not really. The speedometer on this thing's in kilometers. In mph, I'm guessing I was going only 90 or so.

A couple of ok Happy Hours and one really great one.

Much like our burger posts, we’ve been collecting pictures and info about Happy Hours around town. Happy hour is a great, cheap way to experience some of our excellent bars and restaurants. We’ve been to just about every Happy Hour downtown and are starting to go to some in other neighborhoods. Eventually we’ll post about them all! Meanwhile, here’s a start:

Brewer’s Republic: 112 North Nevada, next to The Underground. Happy Hour is 4-8 Monday thru Friday. They offer half price pints during Happy Hour.They also sell half pints, which is unusual, awesome, and not on the Happy Hour special. Their website says they have a bunch of different beers on tap from all over Colorado (there were about eight on the day we went) as well as locally roasted espresso, but the website doesn’t seem to have been updated recently because they didn’t have some of the beers listed and their espresso machine was broken. They also do have a kitchen, but we didn’t see any food coming out of it or a food menu. Someone was using a computer, so we think there might be wi-fi but there are no signs to that effect. It’s a pretty casual setup in there (maybe too casual for me, I like great service, not people who treat their establishment as an annex of their frat house basement bar) and the decor is also casual-cute with cushy couches and rugs, and a neat looking bar made out of old doors. There are plate glass windows looking out to the street and in warm weather, tables on a sidewalk patio.

Brewer's Republic, downtown Colorado Springs

Brewer's Republic, downtown Colorado Springs

Brewer's Republic, downtown Colorado Springs

Brewer's Republic, downtown Colorado Springs

Il Postino:123 E. Pikes Peak Ave, between Nevada and Tejon. Il Postino has two Happy Hours daily: 4:00PM-6:00PM and 9:00PM- Midnight . The Happy Hour specials are: $1 off any drink and 50% off any bottle of wine with some exceptions (the exceptions are the really expensive bottles).  I really want to like this place but I am having a hard time getting beyond the early 90’s orange faux finish decor and that fact that they don’t seem to know what they want to be (are they a young person nightclub or an older person fancy food restaurant?) . Plus, four months in and they’ve already completely changed their menu (and it’s not on their website yet). But still, two daily (I assume this also means weekends) Happy Hours is pretty impressive. They have a fantastic wine list and a dollar off a glass isn’t that exciting, but 50% off bottles is really nice.

Il Postino, Colorado Springs, CO

Il Postino, Colorado Springs, CO

 Shuga’s:  702 S. Cascade.  Shuga’s has a great Happy Hour. In fact, from their website, it looks like they also have two of them: Happy Hour from 3 to 6 pm and 10 to 11 pm with $5 food and drink specials. Not sure if that’s everyday or just Monday thru Friday. They’re closed on Sunday. They have three or four $5 food specials, including the hummus in the picture below, but not the warm butter almond cake below ( if you go to Shuga’s, you haveto get it,  it’s one of the most awesome desserts on earth) and three or four drink specials, including a mini version of their famous lavender martini (it wins best cocktail in COS in just about every contest there is),  “bartender’s choice” and sangria. When my parents were in town last month, they liked it so much we went to Shuga’s Happy Hour two days in a row. It was during that really ridiculous cold snap we had, so none of us got the drink specials, we got the hot cocktails instead.

Shuga's, Colorado Springs

Shuga's, Colorado Springs

A latte from Shuga's, Colorado Springs

A latte from Shuga's, Colorado Springs

Dad and me at Shuga's, Colorado Springs

Dad and me at Shuga's, Colorado Springs

Fancy hot drink menu, Shuga's, Colorado Springs

Fancy hot drink menu, Shuga's, Colorado Springs

Hot coffee cocktail, Shuga's, Colorado Springs

Hot coffee cocktail, Shuga's, Colorado Springs

Warm butter almond cake, Shuga's, Colorado Springs

Warm butter almond cake, Shuga's, Colorado Springs

Happy Hour Hummus, Shuga's, Colorado Springs

Happy Hour Hummus, Shuga's, Colorado Springs

Smokebrush Porter Release Party

Bristol Brewing Co. had a competition for the right to design the label to its seasonal Smokebrush Porter, and the winner will be unveiled Thursday at a release party at Smokebrush’s new space, Marmalade. It’s under a bridge, apparently.

This means that there is an opportunity to drink beer and look at art. And also, an opportunity to drink beer under a bridge without the stigma of being destitute. Win-win.

Bristol Brewing's Smokebrush Porter Release Party at Smokebrush at Marmalade

Drink beer under a bridge and look at art. And find out who won the label-design contest.


View Smokebrush Porter Release Party in a larger map

Some places we went a million years ago

We’ve been tightening up the blog in the past few days and some stuff has gone missing.  So I’m going to repost it when I find it cuz it’s still good!

The Depot in Palmer Lake and Ted’s Montana Grill in Colorado Springs, circa 2008.

Had lunch at The Depot restaurant in Palmer Lake. We thought Palmer Lake would be a cute old town but it wasn’t.

Mike playing a game at The Depot in Palmer Lake, CO

Mike playing a game at The Depot in Palmer Lake, CO

Of course we ate delicious food, tho. So all was not lost.
Cheeseburger, fries, and cole slaw at The Depot, Palmer Lake, CO

Cheeseburger, fries, and cole slaw at The Depot, Palmer Lake, CO

Mike had a rueben with fries and potato salad

Mike had a rueben with fries and potato salad

Last weekend we wanted to go up to Marigold for dinner but they were closed at 9:00 when we got there. LAME. So we went over to The Promenade at Briargate (LOL) and went to Ted’s Montana Grill which was really good! I’ve been wanting to go there for awhile so it was nice. It’s a chain restaurant owned by Ted Turner, who, according to him, brought back the American bison from the brink of extinction by ranching them. Of course there’s lots of buffalo on the menu which is fine with me cuz I like it a lot. They’re also all environmental with glass bottles and paper straws and things like that.

I started with an iceberg wedge, of course. Nice blue cheese dressing, tomatoes. Yum.

Iceberg wedge at Ted's Montana Grill, Colorado Springs

Iceberg wedge at Ted's Montana Grill, Colorado Springs

Then I ordered the bison meatloaf. I’ve made better bison meatloaf but it was pretty good. The garlic mashed potatoes and squash casserole (!?) were really tasty.
Bison meatloaf at Ted's Montana Grill

Bison meatloaf at Ted's Montana Grill

Mike had a ribeye steak which he enjoyed. I had a few bites of it, it was really good. The onion rings were, too, of course.

Ribeye from Ted's Montana Grill

Ribeye from Ted's Montana Grill

Here are some more shots of the interior:

Ted's Montana Grill, Colorado Springs, CO

Ted's Montana Grill, Colorado Springs, CO

Ted's Montana Grill, Colorado Springs, CO

Ted's Montana Grill, Colorado Springs, CO

We finished with a root beer float. Yummy!

Root beer float with a paper straw at Ted's Montana Grill, Colorado Springs

Root beer float with a paper straw at Ted's Montana Grill, Colorado Springs

We like cheeseburgers

We’ve been collecting pictures and facts about all our favorite places around town to get tasty cheeseburgers with the intention of doing a comprehensive post about them. But it looks like that’s just not our style. We don’t write big long posts or use words like “unctuous” to describe ground beef. We do take a lot of pictures, tho! And we do love cheeseburgers! So over the next few weeks we’ll show and tell you about where to get some good ones.

Burger City:  THIS RESTAURANT IS CLOSED. 3357 Cinema Pt, Colorado Springs, CO 80922, open till 9:00pm during the week and 10:00 pm on weekends. My personal fave. Several different kinds of burgers, shakes and really good fries.

Burger City, Colorado Springs, CO
Burger City, Colorado Springs, CO
Cy’s Drive In:  19th and Uintah, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80106.  They use Ranch Foods Direct beef here. Decent fries and shakes, too.
Cy's Drive In, Colorado Springs, CO
Cy’s Drive In, Colorado Springs, CO

Drifters:  4455 Mark Dabling Blvd., Colorado Springs, CO 80907.  The closest thing we have to In N Out.  The fries are way better than those soggy old things from In N Out, tho! I believe they also use beef from Ranch Foods Direct.

Drifter's Colorado Springs, CO

Drifter's Colorado Springs, CO

Drifter's Colorado Springs, CO

Drifter's Colorado Springs, CO

That should keep you busy and full till next week!