16th Street Mall Improvement Project

Mall Improvement Project Status

The 16th Street Mall Improvement Project aims to create a safe, welcoming space for everyone in the heart of downtown. In addition to improving aging infrastructure, the mall project offers opportunities to improve the experience of everyone who visits the mall.

Pre-Construction Update, May 2021

In late May, PCL Construction will begin early construction work at cross streets and along the 16th Street Mall between Blake Street and Broadway, to confirm the locations of utilities in the project area. Work will require intermittent lane and sidewalk closures for safety during work hours. Access to the Mall will be maintained for people walking and people riding the Free MallRide shuttle. 

Work Hours: Monday–Saturday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.


  • Initial work will start at Blake Street at the 16th Street intersection in the northwest corner.
  • One lane of traffic in each direction will remain open during these activities. There will be minor delays to RTD's Free MallRide in various active work zones. 
  • Work is estimated to impact two blocks at a time along the Mall. 
  • All work is weather dependent and subject to change.


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

Public Engagement Archive

February 2020 Open House

May 2019 Environmental Assessment 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.

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)

Environmental Assessment

December 2019: Denver Receives Federal Approval to Advance Reconstruction of 16th Street Mall

Denver’s plan to reconstruct the 16th Street Mall took a major step forward with the completion of the project’s environmental phase. The City and County of Denver and project partners the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), Regional Transportation District (RTD), Denver Urban Renewal Authority (DURA), and Downtown Denver Partnership (DDP) will next initiate the process to select a design/build contractor to reconstruct the 16th Street Mall including gathering feedback from the community on key components of the reconstruction process. Read the full release »

Project Background

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.

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.

UPDATED 2017: View the Gehl Report, Small Steps Toward Big Change (PDF) and the 2016 appendix (PDF); and RTD 16th Street Mall survey (PDF).

 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. 

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:

  • Increase opportunities for public use of the Mall as a destination for leisure, commerce and tourism
  • Address deteriorating infrastructure to allow reasonable maintenance frequency and costs 
  • Improve safety for pedestrians and vehicles 
  • Maintain mobility for desired transit operations and for all users