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$8,000,000 for the 16th Street Mall!

A quick post with some exciting news from RTD!! As I mentioned in one of my posts last week, RTD had submitted nearly $70 million in Federal grant applications through the highly-competitive Bus & Bus Facilities Program.

RTD finally heard the results of their efforts this morning – RTD has been awarded $7,978,998 towards the 16th Street Mall Reconstruction Project. This project will help reconstruct up to 3 1/2 blocks of the Mall (the total amount reconstructed could be less since RTD’s full request wasn’t awarded, but that remains to be seen).

The project includes the FULL reconstruction of the Mall down to the sub-base, including the following components:

  1. Paving
  2. Wet utilities (water)
  3. Dry utilities (lights)
  4. Fountains
  5. Trees and Tree Pits

Contrary to what is being reported in the Denver Post, this project is solely for reconstruction of the Mall itself. No money will be used to “improve mall shuttles and get new ones.” I don’t know who their fact checkers are, but the information included in the Post article is flat-out incorrect. RTD had submitted a separate grant application for new mall shuttles, which was ultimately unsuccessful.

The project will cover areas between Market and Larimer Streets, Larimer and Lawrence Streets, and the 1 1/2 blocks between Court Place and Broadway. A start date for construction hasn’t been announced, but once I hear of one, I’ll pass the word along. More info on this project will be posted as its move closer to construction.

UPDATE – The Denver Post has reported on all of wins secured across Colorado here.

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9 Comments

  1. Craig says:

    Actually, Sens. Mark Udall & Michael Bennett are the one who made that quote about upgrading and procuring new shuttles. Someone should tell them to get their facts straight if that is indeed not correct.

    http://www.bizjournals.com/denver/news/2012/07/18/rtd-gets-79m-grant-for-16th-street.html

    • Ryan Mulligan says:

      From RTD’s cover letter to the grant – no mention of mall shuttle refurbishment.

      “Denver’s Regional Transportation District is pleased to submit an application for the 16th Street Mall Reconstruction Project as a Federal grant funding candidate through the Bus and Bus Facilities Livability Initiative. Similar to previous applications, this grant application specifically focuses on reconstructing three and one-half blocks of downtown Denver’s pedestrian and transit mall which are in the worst condition using proven methods gained through a recent Paver Pilot Program undertaken by RTD and its downtown partners.

      The project is important for restoring the historic 16th Street Mall to a vital and inviting place for the thousands of pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit users who depend on it, further enhancing the character of downtown Denver. This project will also be important in maintaining the Mall’s regional significance in that it serves as a major transfer point for the remainder of RTD’s transit network today and in the critical role it will play in the future as FasTracks corridors are completed and converge in downtown Denver. Receipt of the requested Federal funds will allow RTD and other downtown Denver stakeholders to realize our goals of maintaining a truly unique multi-modal service that supports one of the most highly utilized transit corridors in the region while simultaneously engaging innovative and environmentally-friendly practices.”

  2. Eight million dollars for 3.5 blocks sounds excessive to me. That’s 2.29 million dollars per block. Also, the funds will be used to fix up an area that is chiefly used by homeless people to hang out, sleep, and beg. Let’s send the money back and tell the feds to pay down some of the national debt with it.

    • dave says:

      compared to $40 million for a single highway interchange (alameda and santa fe), this seems like quite a bargain.

    • Ryan Mulligan says:

      Jeffrey – I absolutely agree that this is an expensive project. RTD actually estimated up to $4.5 million per block. Now, whether the costs are actually that high would be determined by the construction bid pricing that RTD receives. RTD spends about $1 million PER YEAR on simple reactive maintenance on the Mall (repairing broken, slipped, and uprooted pavers).

      However, the Mall needs A LOT of work. It’s 30 years old and past is operational life expectancy (has anyone managed to never trip on one of the granite pavers on the Mall?).

      As to whether you believe the cost is TOO high, that’s up to your own determination.

  3. Shane says:

    Jeffrey,

    Though I’m not a civil engineer and have not reviewed RTD’s proposal in depth, I have a better idea. Why spend any public money on making things nice? If we always spend the bare minimum, we could have a country that looks like 1950′s era USSR. That’d be awesome.

    And you’re totally right, man. Only homeless use that area. No business is conducted near these blocks at all.

    Shane

  4. SVC says:

    I believe any investment in Denver’s urban core is good investment. I’m ussuming they chose these spicific blocks to improve, b/c of the issues Jeffrey pointed out.
    Denver keeps getting better!

  5. [...] renovate parts of the 16th Street Mall that are in dire need of some attention. According to the DenverUrbanism blog, in late July, RTD learned that they have been awarded nearly $8 million for the [...]