16th Street Mall Project Update

At one time, the 16th Street Mall was the epicenter of activity in Downtown Denver.  Opened in 1982 as part of an effort to reinvigorate a declining downtown, it soon became an iconic part of Denver life.  Arts & Crafts shows, Day of Rock, street buskers, restaurants and so many other events happened on the mall.  Businesses moved in, and tourists flocked to experience it.  But time took its toll, and it came into disrepair.  The granite pavers were ill-designed for Colorado’s winter freeze/thaw cycles, and loosened over time requiring regular maintenance.  Illegal campers took up residence in the middle section.  In time, the shine wore off the mall.

City leaders and the Downtown Denver Partnership recognized the problem ten years ago, and planning began to restore the mall to its former glory.  Construction began in April of 2022, with the completion date initially planned for the end of 2024.

This project has been both sorely needed and extremely painful.  We have all seen businesses closed, events moved and lives interrupted.  I’m sure I can speak for all of us when I say that we are all looking forward to its completion.  Not only will the project’s completion mark the end of construction, it will also signal the beginning of re-population of businesses and enjoyment of the mall by residents and tourists alike.

The project in a nutshell

As shown above, the middle section between bus lanes is being eliminated, and both directions of bus traffic will be placed adjacent to each other.  This eliminates the middle section while at the same time increasing sidewalk width.  This will provide improved pedestrian flow and will allow for increased area for restaurants to provide outside dining.

The problematic paver system is being completely redone.  We will still have the familiar diamondback pattern, but the underlying design is completely changed so that the pavers should remain solidly in place.

Improved lighting and increased tree planting should make it much more pleasant to walk the mall.

The schedule

I know that the end date is probably the most important question on everyone’s minds.  The initial end date had to be extended when much more extensive infrastructure work was discovered after excavation began.

There are thirteen blocks to the mall, starting at Market and ending at Broadway.  Ten of those blocks, including everything from Market to Tremont, should be completed prior to the beginning of summer in 2025.  The remaining three blocks should be completed by the end of calendar year 2025.

For more information

To access the October 2023 update click on the following link:  https://s3.amazonaws.com/assets.activebuilding.com/property-456/Messages/2099808e-8d78-46a1-b876-fcf9e85780df/MCG%20Oct.%20Update%20Email%2010-13-23.pdf

To access the city’s general website including the dashboard, visit:


UpDoNA’s plans

As the end of the project approaches, UpDoNA may consider the establishment of a new committee.  It would work with organizations such as the Downtown Denver Partnership, Visit Denver, the Civic Center Conservancy and other similar organizations to begin to reactivate the mall and bring tourists and events back to the entire Upper Downtown neighborhood.

Graphics attribution: City of Denver’s 16th St Mall project website

Previous Good Neighbor Committee Report – October, 2023

UpDoNA is a City Registered Neighborhood Organization representing the community of Denver’s Upper Downtown.

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