Denver Releases Potential 16th Street Mall Design Concepts
DENVER — The City and County of Denver and the Regional Transportation District (RTD) have 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.
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.
Images courtesy of DDP.