Skip navigation

City, RTD and partners share 16th Street Mall design concepts

Open houses scheduled for October 18 to collect community input

 

Today, the City and County of Denver and the Regional Transportation District (RTD) shared proposed design concepts for improvements to the 16th Street Mall — including the alignment of the transit lanes and general location of the trees, lights, and gathering and pedestrian space — as part of a federal environmental process to design the Mall’s future. More design concepts may be evaluated based on public input. Project partners will identify a preferred alternative later this fall following further analysis and input from the public; this is one step in a broad effort to rethink and potentially redesign the 16th Street Mall — one of the city’s most vital connectors and important public spaces.

The 35-year old Mall has aging infrastructure and rising maintenance costs, while seeing increasing numbers of transit users and pedestrians. This phase of Mall design is the first part of a federal process as outlined by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The NEPA effort is led by the city and RTD, in partnership with the Downtown Denver Partnership, the Downtown Denver Business Improvement District, the Denver Urban Renewal Authority (DURA) and the Federal Transit Administration. The NEPA process is expected to wrap up in June 2018. Final design planning will continue after NEPA is complete, if the “No Build” option is not selected.

Proposed Design Concepts (see images):

  • Median Asymmetrical – Reconstruct aging Mall infrastructure, with a similar alignment: a median between bus lanes, and some blocks where pedestrian areas are asymmetrical.
  • Center – Reconstruct Mall for buses to run directly down the center, with no median and with symmetrical pedestrian areas for the length of the Mall.
  • Center Asymmetrical – Reconstruct Mall for buses to run directly down the center on some blocks, with no median, and some blocks with asymmetrical pedestrian areas.
  • No Build -- No change to the Mall — only continued infrastructure maintenance.

Different alignments offer different user experiences and other factors to consider. Analysis of the design concepts will consider: improvements to deteriorating infrastructure; pedestrian and vehicular safety; space for walking, gathering places and outdoor café seating; adaptability for special events; ability to add underground utilities for technology upgrades (fiber, electric, etc.); how to honor the iconic design of the Mall; mobility and reliability of the Free MallRide buses; water runoff and more. 

 

 

 

Input So Far

Previous studies have helped Mall partners identify the need for long-term changes to the Mall’s infrastructure to enhance its role as a vibrant and active public space. The NEPA process began in June and has included stakeholder workshops, public open houses and feedback booths at Meet in the Street events. All these inputs contributed to the proposed design concepts on the table today, and will contribute to additional design considerations for the Mall in the coming months.

Additional Public Input Opportunities 

Open Houses: You can learn more and provide feedback on the design concepts at a 16th Street Mall open house. You may also provide feedback on other aspects of the mall including trees, safety, urban design features, historic design and aesthetics.

16th Street Mall Open Houses
October 18, 2017
Noon - 1 p.m. or 5 - 6 p.m.
RTD, 1600 Blake Street, Denver

Online: View the alternatives, learn more and provide your feedback at denvergov.org/themallexperience.

About NEPA

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). NEPA requires that the project partners identify and consider social and environmental impacts when reviewing potential alternatives. This environmental process provides the opportunity to build on the unique history of the Mall, and its important role as a transit and pedestrian corridor and public space, in order to deliver a successful experience for the next 35 years and beyond. The NEPA process is expected to wrap up in June 2018. Final design planning will continue after NEPA is complete, if the “No Build” option is not selected.

About the 16th Street Mall

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.

###