16th Street Mall -A reason to go every day of the week.
In 1982 the 16th Street Mall in Denver Colorado opened to cheers of many who never realized what a difference it would make!
Being able to ride a free shuttle bus was a great time saver and it also meant you didn’t necessarily have to take your car downtown and battle with the parking. At that time people were quite unsure how destroying the key intersection at Broadway and Colfax would help matters. The fact that bus service to any direction east, west or north and south could begin at that intersection meant it was crucial that Broadway and Colfax be accessible.
Additionally…Denver nightlife and some of the alternative clubs, not to mention some very seedy places were going to change permanently!
The alternative club scene catering to Denver’s dark side protested loudly after seeing their places torn down and a giant pit that spoke more of loss than gain sat there…a huge gaping crater where a lot of activity once stood. Red light district Denver too…
In its place..eventually was a stretch of businesses and that extended from Broadway to Market Street…and on the corner of Broadway and Colfax a Civic Center was born…complete with a turnabout for free bus shuttles.
Restaurants lined the 16th Street Mall and eventually the back of the buildings facing Denver’s ultra important 17th Street were alive with activity!
You could take the elevator to the ground floor lobby of your office building on 17th Street and grab a bite to eat for lunch and return without too much difficulty…more importantly…people had more to do downtown after work. Downtown took on the look of a more vibrant city and in 2001 they extended the 16th St corridor down to Wewatta Street at the northern edge of downtown. A year later it went to Union Station.
16th Street Mall in Denver Colorado had a reputation of being a shot in the arm for ailing downtowns everywhere…energize your downtown with more than office buildings and you will give people a reason to go every day of the week.
The buses themselves were sleek and clean and crowded…one quickly learned how to hang on to a strap and get used to the sense and smell of their neighbors LOL.
All kidding aside…it was a big hit and was a must see for visitors to Denver.
Then things began to decline a little…where you started to hear that panhandlers were showing up and homeless folks of all ages were setting up camp on the heating grates.
People started to cautiously focus on daytime visits and sort of avoiding the 16th Street Mall in Denver Colorado…complaining it was dirty…and people were approaching them asking for money..and cigarettes…
Well..let me ask you this…can you name a pedestrian mall in any city that has as much foot traffic that can completely sanitize the streets?
And another thing..it is a living and breathing, working city street..with people on it!
So yes..there will be the haves and have nots blending together like any other urban environment and they will try to get their needs met but one thing I do know…I have never seen an assault or robbery and I have not detected any crime…if people are asking natives and visitors alike for something…that stuff happens anytime you put enough people together!