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The Mall Experience

Through The Mall Experience, we're identifying ways to help the 16th Street Mall reach its full potential as a welcoming place for everyone in the heart of a vibrant downtown.

What's New

Denver and RTD to expand 16th Street Mall analysis

Update 3/16/2017: CH2M has been selected to conduct the alternatives analysis.

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 >>

Image of Meet in the Street logoMeet in the Street begins June 25, 2016!

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. 

photo of place-making project on 16th street mall2016 Prototyping Festival! Part of Meet in the Street

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!

Photo of sign promoting Meet in the Street on 16th Street Mall

Experts Recommend Alternative Programming to Activate the Heart of Downtown

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:

  • 30 percent more pedestrians overall on the 16th Street Mall
  • Number of people engaged in “staying” activities increased by as much as 60%
  • More women and children on the Mall: The ratio of women to men increased by 65 percent; ratio of children to adults increased by 77 percent
  • 90 percent of businesses indicated sales seemed about the same or better as compared to non-Meet in the Street Sundays
  • Ratio of people “spending time” to people “moving through” increased by 48 percent

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. 

Learn More

The Mall Experience: The Future of Denver's 16th Street Mall

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.

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


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Jason Whitlock
Principal city planner

Analiese Hock
Associate city planner