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Revitalizing Denver’s 16th Street Mall

Downtown Denver has everything from food and fun, to shopping and entertainment. If you are moving to Denver, the 16th Street Mall, one of the most frequented areas of downtown, stretches over one mile in length. The 16th Street Mall connects one side of downtown Denver with the other, making it the perfect destination for locals and visitors to spend a day walking and mingling. As of late, even though public transit passes through downtown, passengers are not stopping to browse and shop.

“It’s obviously an incredibly successful transit mall,” said Brad Buchanan, executive director of Denver Planning and Community Development. “But the issue is how to create a sense of place that attracts people and gets them to linger.”

Last summer, researchers observed the busiest sections of the 16th Street Mall and found that only 1 percent of pedestrians stopped to linger.

“I’m surprised there are not more people spending time on the mall,” said Jeff Risom, a Denver native who manages Gehl’s U.S. operations from a Copenhagen office. “It’s the most important street in the city, but it is surprisingly underperforming in relation to its potential.”

Denver movers overheard that the reason behind the lack of locals lingering in the area is due the perceived image of the area, causing some locals to view the area as unattractive and perhaps unsafe. In attempts to revitalize 16th Street Mall, Gehl is working with the Denver planning office and the Downtown Denver Partnership under a $650,000 initiative called “The Mall Experience: The Future of Denver’s 16th Street Mall.” The plan will work towards “pedestrianizing” the mall and restricting the use of RTD’s Free MallRide shuttles along 16th Street.

Denver movers hope that the initiative works as planned and draws more locals and visitors to downtown.

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