UPDATED 06/28/2017: The City and County of Denver and RTD are officially kicking off the next phase of planning for improvements to the 16th Street Mall, in partnership with the Downtown Denver Partnership (DDP), the Downtown Denver Business Improvement District (BID), the Denver Urban Renewal Authority (DURA) and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA).
Over the last several years, significant analysis and outreach has been conducted in order to determine feasible options for long-term solutions to ensure the continued success of the Mall for the next 35 years. Due to the significant cost to maintain the pavers, RTD began researching the option of replacing the bus lanes with an alternative surface, launching the 106 process in 2015. At the same time, the City and County of Denver and the Downtown Denver Partnership launched The Mall Experience: The Future of Denver’s 16th Street Mall, working with Gehl Studio to identify ways to help the Mall reach its full potential as a welcoming place in the heart of downtown. The Mall Experience also addressed concerns with pedestrians and vehicles. These prior studies will inform the expanded review. (See project archive on this page.)
Meet in the Street
Saturday, July 22, 2017
The project hosted an information table during Meet in the Street.
Thursday, July 27, 2017
RTD, 1600 Blake St., Denver
Session 1: Noon - 1 p.m.
Session 2: 5 - 6 p.m.
Attendees at two open house sessions learned about the 16th Street Mall, including the following:
Because the Mall was built in 1982 with federal funds, any potential modifications must undergo a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review and a cultural resources evaluation pursuant to Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (NHPA). Initial project funding for the Alternatives Analysis and Environmental Clearance will come from Tax Increment Financing (TIF) via Denver Urban Renewal Authority (DURA) and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). TIF requires that a design project be identified by 2020 and spent by 2022. If approved by voters, 2017 General Obligation Bonds might also be applied.
As part of the environmental clearance process we will work closely with the community to help achieve the goals of NEPA and support the project’s purpose and need.
Purpose and Need
The purpose of the project is to develop and implement a flexible and sustainable plan for the 16th Street Mall to address deteriorating infrastructure, increase its use as a gathering place, and improve pedestrian and vehicle safety, while continuing reliable two-way transit shuttle service within the Mall and honoring the Mall’s past and future. Improvements are needed to:
Attracting tens of thousands of visitors, employees and others to metro Denver daily, the 16th Street Mall has been at the center of the Downtown Denver experience for nearly 35 years. The Free MallRide service also provides a critically important transit connector for locals and visitors to the region, moving 45,000 people daily during the week along the Mall. The 16th Street Mall is a primary corridor and public space for downtown Denver’s 130,000 employees and 22,000 residents and is home to approximately 200 street-level retailers and restaurants, 1,250 residential units, and more than 1,400 hotel rooms. Building off this success, the City and County of Denver, the Regional Transportation District, the Downtown Denver Partnership, the Downtown Denver Business Improvement District, the Denver Urban Renewal Authority and the Federal Transit Administration are partnering to deliver the future of Denver’s 16th Street Mall.
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The ultimate goal of the The Mall Experience study is to have people enjoy the 16th Street Mall more: come more often, stay longer. To achieve that, we’re studying mall activity and conducting public outreach to identify ways to help the mall reach its full potential as a welcoming place for everyone, and the heart of a vibrant downtown.
We’ve brought on Gehl Studio -- a global leader in people-centered urban design -- to study the mall and identify challenges and opportunities. This will be an iterative process of outreach, observations, testing and refining as we consider the many possibilities to improve the mall. We’ll start with Meet in the Street, a series of weekends involving events, activities and alternative transit options, hosted by the Downtown Denver Partnership.
The Mall Experience study builds on years of community input and planning: the 2007 Downtown Area Plan (PDF) and the 2010 16th Street Mall Urban Design Plan (PDF) established a strategic vision for the corridor. Now, we're ready to ask more of the 16th Street Mall.
The City and County of Denver and the Regional Transportation District (RTD) will expand a current federally-mandated alternatives analysis of the 16th Street Mall, with an eye on potential reconfiguration to optimize the corridor for transit, pedestrians and leisure activities.
The expanded analysis could result in recommendations for new shuttle lane alignments, sidewalk enhancements, expanded seating and other amenities, and alternate surface materials, or a recommendation to maintain the Mall as-is. Read more >>
Meet in the Street returns for a third year beginning Saturday, June 25, and continues each Saturday and Sunday on the 16th Street Mall through July 24. Meet in the Street transforms the mall into a fully activated pedestrian zone with activities including more than 10 extended outdoor cafes, live music, fitness classes, cultural performances, a kids zone and more.
Meet in the Street is one of the programs informing the City and the Partnership’s efforts to identify ways to help the Mall reach its full potential as a welcoming place in the heart of Downtown as part of The Mall Experience study. Analysis of Meet in the Street will continue this summer to help Mall partners hone in on long-term changes to the Mall and adjacent sites. Volunteer opportunities are available for urban researchers to help conduct observational studies along the Mall throughout the summer.
MAY 2016 -- This summer, a series of thoughtful and connected events will transform Downtown’s parks and public spaces, including the 16th Street Mall, with events and activation to encourage people to come more often, and stay for longer periods of time.
One new aspect of this emphasis on urban placemaking is the 2016 Prototyping Festival, an opportunity for the community to submit prototype ideas to make the 16th Street Mall more vibrant. Selected submissions will receive a stipend to support their project, which will be displayed during the final weekend of Meet in the Street on July 23 and 24.
Visit the Downtown Denver Partnership's 2016 Prototyping Festival page for more!
MARCH 2016 -- Gehl Studio’s analysis is central to The Mall Experience: The Future of Denver’s 16th Street Mall.
Gehl found increased diversity of Mall users and of user experiences during the five 2015 Meet in the Street Sundays, including:
Gehl’s baseline analysis of normal weekdays showed that only 1 percent of Mall users “linger,” while most are simply passing through. Gehl’s report recommends short, medium and long term “placemaking” projects that can activate the 16th Street Mall and other adjacent sites to help the Mall become more of a place that people go to as well as go through.