Calhoun: Wake-Up Call

Survey: Should 16th Street Mall Shuttle Run on 15th and 17th, Too?

The bus stops here...and here...and here. The 16th Street Mall shuttle is one of those features that's both loved and loathed. Many Denverites (and even more visitors to the city) appreciate the free ride along the mall; others says they don't like the endless interruptions and noise and would prefer seeing the shuttles moved off the mall to 15th and 17th streets. That's just one of many changes being explored this summer, as the City of Denver, Downtown Denver Partnership and other groups embark on a "revisioning process" for the thirty-plus-year-old mall.

And you can still share your insights: A survey introduced earlier this month that specifically addresses security issues has been extended. When our post on this mall survey went live Tuesday, just under 1,500 people had responded; now the number is over 2,200. The original deadline was yesterday, but that's been extended through Monday, August 31. How do you feel about the mall? Do you feel safe on the street? On the buses? Tell downtowndenversurvey.

And about those buses: RTD just authorized the purchase of  36 new electric shuttles for the 16th Street MallRide. “The current shuttles have been in operation for over fourteen years and it is time to replace our aging fleet to continue providing high-quality service to our riders,” says RTD Interim General Manager Dave Genova. “The new shuttles will provide the most advanced and clean-energy technology to help the environment while meeting the unique needs of vehicle operation on the busy 16th Street Mall.”

And maybe even off the mall. According to Downtown Denver's John Desmond, when RTD staffers recently discussed the purchase with the board, they said the new shuttles could be raised when fully loaded, so they could operate on streets other than the mall. While that doesn't mean the buses will definitely move to 15th and 17th, "it allows us to open that discussion," Desmond says. And while that discussion could take a long time (although presumably not as long as the fourteen years these buses lasted), one other amenity will be immediately apparent when the new shuttles are put in service next year: air-conditioning.
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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun

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