This summer’s Meet in the Street events will have to share space with the 16th Street MallRide on most Saturdays.
Last year, the series doubled in size and rerouted the entire MallRide to make room for pedestrians. This year, the event will be shorter — eight Saturdays compared to five full weekends — and the MallRide will be partially rerouted on only three Saturdays. The free shuttle will run its regular route during the event on the other Saturdays.
The series aims to bring more activity to the 16th Street Mall by providing extra entertainment, sometimes in areas where the shuttle normally runs. This year, there will only be a partial MallRide reroute from Tremont Place to Curtis Street.
The Downtown Denver Partnership, the group that produces the event, was originally interested having a Meet in the Street like last year’s, said Brea Olson, a spokesperson for DDP.
In an RTD committee hearing last Tuesday, Director Lorraine Anderson characterized that as “too extensive.”
RTD Spokesperson Nate Currey explained that Meet in the Street causes an obvious dip in ridership on the MallRide, the system’s busiest route. Plus there’s the cost:
“We get subsidies and operating help from the federal government because it was a federal project, it was funded that way,” he said. “We actually lose funding every time we’re not servicing the mall as it is defined by the FTA.”
Olson said Monday that rerouting the MallRide has been important to the event.
“There certainly has been an emphasis in past years on activating the mall with the shuttles off,” Olson said. “That was due in part to informing the mall experience and really studying how people could be using the mall differently. ”
But this year’s change will provide an opportunity to see how to activate the mall with the shuttle, Olson said.
“It’s really going to help us inform how everyone can live a cohesive existence in the mall,” Olson said. “There’s no ideal scenario that we’ve established.”
Editor’s note: This post has been updated to reflect further explanation from RTD.