16th Street Mall Project

Project Overview

January 2023: Crews are on site at various locations along the Mall. Businesses are open. Catch the RTD Free Mall Ride on 15th Street or 17th Street between Wazee and Welton streets. Find more information on the current project activities or download the 16th Street Mall Project app.

Great cities never stand still. We think to the future. The 16th Street Mall Project is our past, present and future. It is the backbone of our City, our version of a Main Street and the catalyst for a great future ahead. The 16th Street Mall Project will revitalize the Mall from Market Street to Broadway. Our goal is improving safety and mobility, addressing deteriorating infrastructure and creating more opportunities for the people who live, work and visit the Mile High City to enjoy the Mall for years to come.

Artist's illustration of the future 16th Street Mall, showing pedestrians in the amenity zone and the new granite pavers in the historic pattern

Current and Recommended Mall Alignment

Text description of this infographic(PDF, 65KB)

renderings of current and proposed 16th street mall roadways, with center running transit lanes

Current Project Activities

Map of 16th Street Mall blocks as part of the construction plan, with construction beginning at Market Street in April 2022, and utility work on four other blocks from Blake to Champa

Travel Information

All businesses are open and accessible.

The RTD Free MallRide is rerouted to bus lanes on 15th and 17th streets while blocks are under construction. More information

  • Reconstruction:
    • Market to Larimer (Block 1)
      Short-term, intermittent single lane closures on Market Street for deliveries
    • Larimer to Lawrence (Block 2)
    • Lawrence to Arapahoe (Block 3)
    • Arapahoe to Curtis (Block 4)
      Lane closures on Arapahoe Street for utility work, lasting for several weeks
  • Preconstruction utility work:
    • Tremont to Court (Block 11) 
      Preconstruction utility work underway. Single-lane closures on Tremont Place for potholing activities as soon as Jan. 28, lasting for approximately one week.
    • Potholing activities in various locations will require occasional lane and sidewalk closures on the 16th Street Mall and on cross-streets between Market Street and Broadway. By potholing, which includes drilling holes into the pavement in multiple locations, the team will be able to confirm existing data about conditions on, around, and under the Mall, including the location of existing underground utilities. By identifying existing utilities, such as water/sewer pipes and electrical conduit lines, the team will be able to reduce the chance of unexpectedly encountering one of these lines during construction. Signage will clearly identify how pedestrians and motorists can navigate any expected closures.
  • Work may require intermittent lane closures at intersections between Wazee and Broadway throughout construction.
  • Work may require occasional sidewalk closures on the Mall. Pedestrian and business access will be maintained.

Work Phasing Plan

Construction on the 16th Street Mall Project is beginning on the block between Market and Larimer streets, starting in the center/transitway area, with a new adjacent block entering construction approximately four to eight weeks later. Each block will be under construction for approximately 18 months:

  • Phase 1: Work in the center of the Mall on each block for 13–14 months
  • Phase 2: Work adjacent to the buildings, lasting 3–4 months
  • Phase 3: Completing the final finishes in the center of the Mall for about the last month

Text description of these infographics(PDF, 519KB)

Pedestrian walkways and access to storefronts will be maintained on both sides of the Mall, but walkways may be narrower. The work site will have gates at both intersections and intermittent flaggers to help direct construction and pedestrian traffic as needed. Signage and construction fencing will have signs to help visitors access transit and businesses.

Work Hours: Construction workdays and hours are anticipated to be Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Weekend work will occur between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Material deliveries and staging may occur over night. All construction activities are weather and site condition dependent, and schedules are subject to change. 

The New Look

The new 16th St. Mall will feature elements designed to help make the Mall a desirable, engaging destination for all. Site furnishings, play features and moments of joy will be distributed up and down the Mall in relationship to activity areas and adjacent land uses.

  • Site Furnishings include items like tables, chairs, benches, planters and other things that create a space for people to spend time.
  • Play Features are structures designed specifically for engaging kids on the Mall.
  • Moments of Joy are elements designed to bring a bit of delight to the Mall; they make you smile, pause for a moment or snap a photo to share.

The ensemble of these features will work together to create attractions and moments of relaxation and fun for families, residents, visitors and workers to enjoy in the core of downtown.

The site furnishings will be organized into three basic room types — feast, lounge and arrow — to create places for a multitude of uses.

  • Feast rooms are designed with food in mind. They create space to share lunch with a friend or eat solo and catch up on your emails on a beautiful day.
  • Lounge rooms create space to slow down and stay for a bit. Visitors can take a moment to plan their next stop, downtown employees can pause in the shade for a moment between meetings and residents can enjoy the people watching for a while.
  • Arrow rooms activate an area while also creating a clear delineation of space.

These site furnishing room types will be paired with planter pots for visual color and interest and all furnishing groupings will be flexible, changeable and phased as a new evolution of place making and sensory experiences along the Mall evolve for everyone’s enjoyment. 

Paver Preview

The 16th Street Mall project team is hosting a preview of the new granite paver system and curbless configuration that is part of the Mall’s renovation. The preview can be experienced at The Outer Space at 16th and Welton Street starting Wednesday, August 17, through the project’s duration. The sample installation allows visitors to experience the new granite walk- and transitways that have been designed to increase safety and improve mobility along this iconic pedestrian destination.

In December 2022, the project team installed an updated section of the paver preview with a more detectable edge delineation that features a smaller, cobbled paver to better define the boundary between the transit and amenity zones. The more detectable edge delineation is displayed next to the original design to easily compare the original and updated finishes side by side. This updated section was designed following a thorough technical evaluation which took place in result of the feedback collected during our August outreach.  

Illustration of mall paver section with original and new edge delineation highlighted

What can I expect to see?

  • A design that honors the original Navajo rug and diamondback rattlesnake pattern that has been a feature of the Mall for 40 years.
  • New granite paver system with better surface friction to prevent slipping.
  • A new curbless configuration that facilitates the movement of people across the Mall and enables a variety of Mall uses, including events and festivals. Approximately 40 feet of curb will be provided at each shuttle stop location (not shown in preview). 

Project Background

The 16th Street Mall Project builds on nearly a decade of planning and community input to inform how we reconstruct and revitalize the Mall from Market Street to Broadway. The feedback and input from hundreds of community members resulted in today’s effort to rebuild the Mall to be not just more structurally sound, but also a welcoming space where all people can gather.

Environmental Assessment

The project’s environmental phase concluded in December 2019. FTA found the project to have no significant impact on environmental resources and officially issued a “Finding of No Significant Impact” (FONSI) on Nov. 26, 2019. This marked completion of the Environmental Assessment (EA). The EA identified a Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA) to reconstruct the 16th Street Mall between Market Street and Broadway to address infrastructure, mobility, safety, and public use needs. 

Finding of No Significant Impact

May 2019 EA Public Meeting

Members of the public were invited to attend public meetings to provide input on the project and EA conclusions. The same information was presented at two meetings on May 1, 2019.

FTA and the project partners reviewed and considered all comments. All comments received during the comment period will be part of the project record. Responses to all substantive comments (those that raise specific issues or concerns regarding the project or EA process, suggest new alternatives, or question or raise concerns over new impacts not addressed in the EA) will be included in the final decision document.

 

Environmental Clearance and Funding: 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 came 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. As approved by voters, 2017 General Obligation Bonds might also be applied. 


Public Engagement Archive

2022: 90 Percent Design

In March 2022 a round of outreach was completed to accompany 90% Design and to inform stakeholders about what to expect once construction begins.

Watch the 90% design video

2021: 60 Percent Design

In late 2021, the 16th Street Mall Project team completed another round of outreach to accompany the submittal of 60% design. This round focused on providing design updates for various amenities along the Mall — shade structures, play elements and more. This video was recorded at one of the focus group meetings and focuses on how design of the mall amenities has evolved over the years, and the current design for elements along the 16th Street Mall.

Watch the 60% design video

Artists rendering of new 16th Street transit and pedestrian mall

February 2020

2018-19

March 2018 Open House

On March 8, 2018, the city and RTD hosted open houses where the public could learn more, ask questions and give input on future refinement of the design. Review the open house materials:

October 2017 Open Houses

Attendees at two open house sessions learned about the 16th Street Mall, including the following:

  1. Project Overview (PDF)
  2. Existing Conditions and Environmental Resources (PDF)
  3. History of the Mall and Previous Studies (PDF)
  4. Input to Date (PDF)
  5. Proposed Alternatives and Evaluation (PDF)
  6. Next Steps (PDF) 

View a summary of the October 2017 Open Houses (PDF)

July 2017 Open Houses

Attendees at two open house sessions learned about the 16th Street Mall, including the following:

  1. Project overview (PDF)
  2. Environmental process (PDF)
  3. History of the mall - previous studies (PDF)
  4. Existing conditions (PDF)
  5. Next steps (PDF)
  6. Evaluation criteria (PDF)

View a summary of Meet in the Street and the July 2017 Open Houses (PDF)

Business and Workforce Programs

The City of Denver and the Downtown Denver Partnership have developed a variety of tactics to help remove some common roadblocks that businesses face during large construction projects.

Business Support Information

The 16th Street Mall Project is positioned to create a workforce ecosystem that promotes broader inclusion of a diverse workforce, systemically addresses barriers to entry, and provides supportive service to promote successful worker performance and ongoing development.

Jobs and Workforce Programs Information

Current separated alignment from Broadway to Tremont and Arapahoe to Market Proposed alignment from Broadway to Tremont and Arapahoe to Market Current alignment with separated transit lanes from Tremont to Arapahoe