Denver’s 16th Street Mall. Credit: Steve Crecelius, Visit Denver
Denver’s 16th Street Mall is a pedestrian and transit mall that runs for over 1 mile between the Civic Center and Union Station. The mall was designed by I.M. Pei, with red, white and gray pavers.
Transit has been on the mall from the beginning—and contributed to livability in measurable ways.
When the mall first opened in 1982, it provided the opportunity to create transit hubs at either end, removing more than 600 bus trips from 16th and 17th streets, lowering congestion and air pollution and creating a walkable pedestrian-oriented center for Downtown.
RTD Denver operates a Free MallRide shuttle seven days a week, from 5am to 1am. The MallRide carries 13 million passengers each year. Ultra-low emission, hybrid-electric buses have operated on the mall since 2000 and are currently being replaced with a new all-electric Free MallRide bus fleet. The new fleet will be in place by the summer of 2017.
Is having multimodal options the secret to successful pedestrian malls? How should downtowns balance the needs of the different modes? And how are these spaces working for people? Denver is exploring these options as it works toward the next evolution of the 16th Street Mall.
What’s the local word?
We asked Jill Locantore, Associate Director at WalkDenver, her take on the 16th Street Mall and what other walkable places visitors should check out. Here’s what she said:
“The 16th Street Mall has a number of hidden gems that can really only be seen and appreciated on foot, including restaurants, shops, and alley murals. Next to Union Station, 16th Street ends at the Denver Millennium Bridge, a beautiful pedestrian-only bridge with incredible views that takes you over the train tracks to Confluence Park, the Platte River bridge and more local restaurants, bars, and shops along Platte Street.
Closer to the conference location, you can wander up Court Place to the historic Brown Palace Hotel and then head down 17th Avenue through the Uptown neighborhood and check out some of Denver’s most well-known restaurants and bars. Heading south down Bannock Street, Denver’s landmark civic buildings, Civic Center Park, and several museums are all within walking distance of the Sheraton.”
See it at Rail~Volution Denver:
- The conference hotel, Sheraton Denver Downtown, is located on the 16th Street Mall.
- Union Station, a revitalized multimodal hub, is at the other end of the 16th Street Mall from the hotel and will be the site of the 2017 Welcome Reception.
- Travel note: Rail~Volution conference-goers can ride the A Line from Denver International Airport to Union Station, then take the Free MallRide bus from Union Station to the Sheraton.
Visit Denver https://www.denver.org/things-to-do/denver-attractions/16th-street-mall/
RTD Free MallRide (including a timeline of the mall) http://www.rtd-denver.com/FREEMallRide.shtml