By Joel Hillan
DENVER (CBS4) – This week the City of Denver and the Regional Transportation District revealed their plans for a renewed 16th Street Mall.
Blair Dickinson is the catering manager for an upscale sandwich shop on the 16th Street Mall. He loves the mall, but is also excited for the proposed changes.
“The general aesthetics could use some sprucing, so we’ll take what we can get,” said Dickinson.
“We want to eliminate those underused medians, expand the sidewalk for a comfortable, safer walk for pedestrians and it expand it for seating and other things, increase the tree canopy and just make it a better place for people,” said Andrea Burns, spokeswoman for the Denver Community Planning and Development.
RTD says more than 40,000 passengers utilize the free MallRide each day, a number that is expected to nearly double is the next two decades.
With that in mind, the resign in not just about aesthetics and utilization, but safety.
“The mall will be a safer place for pedestrians by having wider sidewalks, a visual and physical barrier between the buses and the people, which would be the trees and the historic lights, and then fewer places where the buses and the people have to cross each other. So we think it’s a great safety improvement as well,” said Burns.
Fewer crossing points between buses and pedestrians could improve efficiency.
“Without the buses flowing we would see a serious decline, so if they are able to operate faster that’s probably going to boost our business, that’s just more people getting dropped off right in front of our doors,” said Dickinson.
A boost to business.
“More buses is more traffic is more customers,” he said.
If the plan is approved, they will begin construction next year. They hope to do it in phases to minimize the impact to businesses.