Downtown Denver Partnership Issues Letter of Opposition to RTD’s Proposed MallRide Service Cuts
On February 19, 2020, the Downtown Denver Partnership issued a letter of opposition to the RTD Board of Directors to proposed service cuts to the 16th Street MallRide. If approved by RTD’s board in March, the cuts would go into effect in May 2020. Read the letter below and click here to learn more about the Downtown Denver Partnership’s transportation and mobility efforts.
Dear RTD Board of Directors,
We know that a vibrant and economically vital city – and region – relies on the ability to move people safely and efficiently through a variety of transit options. We are concerned by proposed cuts to the 16th Street MallRide service that is being proposed by the RTD Board of Directors. Cuts to the service on the Mall will have a significant impact on RTD’s ability to maintain ridership and will be a detriment to the economic vitality of downtown, and potentially the region.
As such, the Downtown Denver Partnership requests that cuts to the 16th Street MallRide be postponed until a detailed analysis of the impacts can be fully considered and a plan is in place to mitigate the impacts of this loss in publicly-provided mobility.
The Downtown Denver Partnership has enjoyed a long standing, positive working relationship with the RTD Board of Directors over the years, including your personal visit and thorough update to our Board of Directors in January. We deeply value this partnership since Downtown Denver is the hub of the RTD regional transit service and as you know, we have voiced our concerns about changes to the most dense and highly utilized routes in RTD’s service. We understand the impact service cuts would have on the overall ridership of the regional system. Our local and regional economic vitality depends on our ability to reliably and efficiently transport people throughout the region. Disruptions in service to our most vital transit lines jeopardize the continued prosperity of a sustainable and economically resilient metropolitan region.
The Downtown Denver Partnership, who represents businesses, visitors, and residents of our center city, is a strong advocate for increasing transit services – transit that allows all people to have access to a fast, reliable and environmentally efficient mobility options. The employment and entertainment districts of Downtown Denver requires a strong and redundant mobility network to function; and, transit routes, such as the 16th Street Mall, are the most cost efficient and productive transportation services of the entire mobility system. Over ten million people use the MallRide per year making up over ten percent of RTD’s total ridership.
By recent estimates, over 150,000 transit trips occur in Downtown Denver every day; according to the annual Downtown Denver Commuter Survey, over 43 percent of the 145,000
employees in our center city rely on an RTD bus or train to travel to and from work. In fact, there are 370 companies in Downtown Denver that are committed to providing transit access through the purchase of EcoPasses–more than $23 million is paid annually to RTD by downtown employers who believe in the economic opportunity that transit affords their workforce.
Visitors to Denver spend over three million visitor room nights in Downtown, a majority of whom use the MallRide to access amenities such as restaurants, hotels, and other transit connections to the airport and other parts of the region.
Within a 1/4-mile walk the 16th Street Mall, there are 8,500 households and over 12,500 residents. One quarter of these households are without a private vehicle. These are people that depend on daily services that RTD provides, most notably the frequent and free transit service of the 16th Street MallRide.
These numbers demonstrate the density of activity occurring in downtown requires an equally robust and reliable transit network. People choose to use the MallRide because of the level of service and convenience it provides – service that is unparalleled downtown or throughout the region. We believe cuts to the service on the Mall will have a significant impact on RTD’s ability to maintain ridership and will be a detriment to the economic vitality of downtown and the region. The Downtown Denver Partnership requests that cuts to the 16th Street MallRide be postponed until a detailed analysis of the impacts can be fully considered and a plan is in place to mitigate the impacts of this loss in publicly-provided mobility.
Thank you for your consideration. A detailed study of service changes on the Mall will allow for a better understanding of how we provide transit options that ensure the economic vitality of our city and region. We are happy to support this effort and look forward to our continued partnership.
Trinidad Rodriguez, Chair, Downtown Denver Partnership
Tami Door, President and CEO, Downtown Denver Partnership