Denver Receives Federal Approval to Advance Reconstruction of 16th Street Mall

December 4, 2019

Denver’s plan to reconstruct the 16th Street Mall took a major step forward today with the completion of the project’s environmental phase. The Downtown Denver Partnership, alongside project partners City and County of Denver, Federal Transit Administration (FTA), Regional Transportation District (RTD), and the Denver Urban Renewal Authority (DURA) 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.

The project now moves into the final design and construction phase which will include additional opportunities for the public to give input into key aspects of the construction process and The Mall Experience. People can visit The Mall Experience web site to stay up to date on future opportunities to weigh in on the 16th Street Mall reconstruction project.

When fully completed, the project will replicate the historic and iconic aspects of the Mall; improve pedestrian safety and mobility on the city’s most transit-rich street; and enhance the overall Mall Experience by creating a series of active, engaging opportunities along the corridor to encourage people of all ages to visit often and stay longer

The Downtown Denver Partnership has been deeply engaged in the vitality of the 16th Street Mall since 1981, advising on and supporting efforts to optimize pedestrian experience, recruit premier retailers, and effectively activate the Mall. “The 16th Street Mall is Denver’s Main Street, serving millions of people each year,” said Tami Door, President and CEO of the Downtown Denver Partnership, “The upcoming reconstruction will take the Mall to the next level, creating even more opportunities for programming, interaction, and commerce.”

Throughout its 37-year history, the Mall has attracted visitors from all over the world. The Mall includes 200 shops and restaurants, 1,400 hotel rooms, and 1,250 residential units, and at 1.2 miles and nearly 18 blocks in length, is one of the longest pedestrian malls in the world.

Conversations about a pedestrian mall on 16th Street began in 1959, and the Mall was opened in 1982. The Mall extended into Lower Downtown in 1992, and into the Central Platte Valley in 2001. In 2017, voters committed $13 million from the Elevate Denver Bond Program to help fund the 16th Street Mall reconstruction project. The FTA, Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG), DURA, and the city will all contribute funding to the project. Design and construction on the 16th Street Mall is expected to begin in 2021.