To address aging infrastructure and enhance safety, Denver and Regional Transportation District officials say they want to redesign the 16th Street Mall.
The largest change under the new design recommendations would be the shifting of transit lanes to the center of the mall, expanding sidewalks and outdoor café seating. Officials say the recommendations are a tweak on plans released last October. If approved, phased construction would begin in 2019 or early 2020 and finish in 2022.
The city said the new design will enhance mobility for the Free MallRide buses, which offer free transit through the outdoor mall and currently serve 40,000 riders daily. Ridership is expected to swell to more than 70,000 per day by 2035.
“As pedestrian traffic and ridership grow in this crucial corridor in the years ahead, our agency is pleased to be working thoughtfully with our partners in determining the best path forward,” RTD CEO and General Manager Dave Genova said in a statement. “We believe the public will appreciate the changes that have been proposed.”
The re-design will honor the mall’s unique look including the patterned carpet design the city says evokes “a Navajo blanket and the floor of the Pantheon” and will make way for more trees.
“We’re keeping the best parts of the Mall, while revitalizing an amazing public space and public amenity,” said Brad Buchanan, executive director of Denver Community Planning and Development.
The project will be funded through a mix of general obligation bond funds, tax increment financing and Federal Transit Administration grants.
For those interested in more details, RTD will host a public meeting on March 8 to field comments and answer questions about the proposed project.