BY MARGARET JACKSON, WESTWORD | In the 35 years since it was created, Denver’s 16th Street Mall has morphed from the heart and soul of downtown Denver into a sometime civic embarrassment showing its age.
The mall is an important transit corridor, with up to 45,000 riders using the Regional Transportation District’s Free MallRide each weekday; it’s still one of the metro area’s biggest visitor attractions. But Denver boosters worry that it hasn’t reached its full potential as a welcoming place with great pedestrian infrastructure, seating areas that are inviting, or spaces that function well for special events.
The city has wrestled with the issue of how to improve the mall’s image for years, commissioning study after study in its quest for answers to problems along the mile-long corridor. Making real improvements always seems to come down to money. Fortunately, some is available — even if the right ways to spend it are not readily apparent.
Photo by Anthony Camera