Joe Urban | Sam Newberg, Urbanist

The 16th Street Mall Shuttle

Dateline: 7:10 pm November 19, 2006 Filed under:

Last month I attended the Urban Land Institute’s Fall Meeting in Denver. It was a very good conference. But I must say, what amazed me most about the whole experience was the 16th Street Mall Shuttle. It is everything good transit service should be – frequent, cheap (or free, which it is), convenient to a lot of places one might want to visit, and linked to other forms of transit. It impressed me, and no doubt did for a good number of the 6,000 other attendees of the ULI conference as well.

I have been to Denver many times, so the shuttle wasn’t new to me. I already knew it connected several places in the downtown with a very short walk – it is less than two blocks from the convention center, most major office towers, LoDo, the State Capitol, art museums, Larimer Square, and four blocks from Coors Field. The key, though, is it connects not just to places but also to other forms of transit, and that is why it is so popular. You can come in on a train or bus, or even park in a ramp, and take the shuttle to just about anywhere else downtown. Each bus has four doors to make it easy to get on and off, and service is frequent, every couple minutes during the day. It makes getting around downtown Denver very easy.

Example. For the conference, I stayed at a friend’s home in Broomfield (halfway from Denver to Boulder on Highway 36) and each morning drove my huge rented SUV to various park ‘n’ rides to “test” the transit system. The train and commuter buses were very nice, but for these commutes to the convention center in downtown Denver, the 16th Street Mall Shuttle sealed the deal.

I rode light rail in from the south one day. One spur of the light rail system dropped me off underneath the convention center in the morning. However, I finished the day down in LoDo (Denver’s historic warehouse district), so I headed to the nearby Union Station and took the train on the other spur back to my truck.

The following day I parked at the Broomfield park ‘n’ ride and took a plush commuter bus on a one-stop trip to downtown Denver. I got off at the Market Street Station, which is a fantastic little underground terminal with less than 10 bus stalls that dump you off in an efficient little lobby with a few benches, a ticket counter and concession stand. It is an amazingly well-scaled transit center. Go up one escalator and the shuttle is right there. I hopped on for an eight-block ride and two block walk to the convention center. Total time from the comfort of my SUV to breakfast at my conference, about a half hour.

That evening, after an event at a hip club in LoDo, I headed back to the Market Street Station to catch the 11:15 bus back to Broomfield. It was a weeknight, and the bus was actually half full with mostly young people, my guess students mostly from Boulder that were in Denver for something, and no doubt it was important.

I could see how user-friendly the 16th Street Mall Shuttle could be for someone working in Denver. A colleague of mine uses it frequently. Moreover, it helps funnel foot traffic, and therefore retail activity, to 16th Street. 

For that week in Denver, the 16th Street Mall Shuttle came in very handy and made a number of trips so much easier, even for a quick trip to the beloved Tattered Cover bookstore. The bottom line is that good transit is frequent, affordable, easy to use and takes you where you want to go. The 16th Street Mall Shuttle does that for Denver residents, workers and visitors alike.

1 Comment

  1. […] Joe Urban on Denver’s Public Transit “The bottom line is that good transit is frequent, affordable, easy to use and takes you where you want to go.” – Sam Newberg […]

    Pingback by Garrick Van Buren .com » Joe Urban on Denver’s Public Transit — November 19, 2006 @ 10:08 pm

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