How would you redesign the 16th Street Mall? Here are three new options

RTD commissioned new MallRide buses. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)
RTD commissioned new MallRide buses. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)
RTD commissioned new MallRide buses. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)

Denver and RTD shared three new design concepts for a reimagined 16th Street Mall Monday. Plus, there’s always the fourth option of keeping everything the same.

Later this fall, project partners hope to select a preferred option based on public input and further study. So read on — your opinion could help determine whether the city changes the aging corridor

Local officials embarked on possible changes to the mall earlier this year, spurred by high maintenance costs, $68 million in DURA funding that could expire, and more.

Since it was built with federal funds, changes to the mall must have a National Environmental Policy Act review. These designs are considered a part of that process.

Two out of the three proposed options would reconfigure the street so that the free MallRide buses travel right next to each other, without the current median. Those are the “center” and “center asymmetrical” options.

Here’s the center option:

(Courtesy of Denver Community Planning & Development)
(Courtesy of Denver Community Planning & Development)

Here’s the center asymmetrical option:

(Courtesy of Denver Community Planning & Development)
(Courtesy of Denver Community Planning & Development)

The third proposed option preserves a median, and creates asymmetrical pedestrian areas on some blocks.

(Courtesy of Denver Community Planning & Development)
(Courtesy of Denver Community Planning & Development)

And there’s always the option to keep everything the same and pay for maintenance.

Share your opinion online or on October 18 at one of two open houses held from noon to 1 p.m. or 5 to 6 p.m. at 1600 Blake Street.

Of course, it’s not quite as simple as a popularity contest. Project partners will also consider safety, placemaking, whether or not the design allows for underground tech upgrades, honoring the current design and more.

If you’re trying to read the tea leaves for that, RTD’s general manager told the Denver Post that the center option is “probably the simplest for us.”

On the other hand, prognostication is a fickle practice. Denver’s Office of Community Planning and Development says that more design concepts may be evaluated based on public input.