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.
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 marks 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. During the process, the project partners engaged with a wide variety of interested parties, including businesses, residents, historic preservationists, advocates for people living with disabilities, and the broader public to recommend a preliminary design for reconstruction of The Mall that expands sidewalks for walking, café seating and other activities, and moves transit lanes to the center or offset-center of each block.
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.
Pre-Submittal Meeting #2: November 19, 2019 at 8:30 a.m. local time
201 W. Colfax Ave.
Denver, CO 80202
Webb Building, Conference room 4.G.2
Question Deadline: January 9, 2020 at 2:00 p.m.
RFQ Submittal Date: January 31, 2020 at 10:00 a.m.
Pre-RFQ Release Meeting January 16, 2019
See the conference sign-in sheet (PDF)
Letters of interest from firms interested in receiving project information were due January 8, 2019.
JANUARY 24, 2018: The City and County of Denver and the Regional Transportation District (RTD) are recommending a design for reconstruction of the 16th Street Mall that would expand sidewalks for walking, café seating and other activities, and move transit lanes to the center or offset-center of each block. These updates are designed to enhance the Mall experience for visitors while improving pedestrian safety and mobility on the city’s most transit-rich street. Read the press release »
UPDATE 10/02/2017: The City and County of Denver and the Regional Transportation District (RTD) announced 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. Read the press release >>
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.)
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:
16th Street Mall Open Houses - Proposed Design Concepts
October 18, 2017.
RTD, 1600 Blake Street, Denver
Flier - English & Español (PDF)
Attendees at two open house sessions learned about the 16th Street Mall, including the following:
Meet in the Street — July 22, 2017
The project hosted an information table during Meet in the Street.
Open House — July 27, 2017
RTD, 1600 Blake St., Denver
Attendees at two open house sessions learned about the 16th Street Mall, including the following:
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!
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.
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:
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 >>
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.