Mulling Over the Mall

By Kristin Pazulski

Photography by Adrian DiUbaldo

Another group of casually dressed business people runs by you, trying to catch the bus, talking about the latest speaker and wearing lanyard tags naming the convention they are attending at the Hyatt.

You look down at your jeans and sweater, and wonder if you’re supposed to be wearing a suit to be on the 16th Street Mall, because that’s all you can see. But no, it’s just that Denver’s downtown is different. With fewer people living in Denver than working and visiting, the downtown area’s one dominating street, the 16th Street Mall, sees more traffic from the more than 100,000 office workers and 2.1 million annual visitors than it sees from Denver residents.

Not only that, but walk a block off of 16th Street and the story is much different.

Downtown Denver is dominated by a 15-block strip of stores, restaurants and vendors that attract most of the area’s pedestrian traffic. The Mall Ride is beeping, bags are rustling, conversations float from cafes and the street furniture as people take a rest from shopping or walking. But the adjoining streets are quiet. There are shops and restaurants—plenty of shops, some which have been there for years. But the bustle is missing. Cars whizz by in four lanes of one-way traffic. The white-walking-man lights go on, but only a few people saunter across the street—most on their way to a hotel, a bus stop or the Mall.

Those side streets could be the future of Denver’s downtown development, but having oriented the city around one street, what will it take to build a more balanced city-center—one with shopping, entertainment, residences and pedestrian areas throughout?

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Hickenlooper on Homelessness

 

Mayor John Hickenlooper discusses Denver's 10-year plan

By Tim Covi

Photography by Ross Evertson

From an English major in undergrad, to a master’s student in Geology, from a young entrepreneur in a derelict part of 1980’s Denver, to the Mayor’s office, John Hickenlooper’s path to politics has been anything but direct. In office, he has led this city through huge changes and growth. He’s pushed for greater accountability in sustainable development, in green house gas emissions, and in police department reforms.

As he embarks on the Governor’s race, we sat down with him to discuss one of the defining aspects of his tenure in the Mayor’s office, Denver’s Road Home, our 10-year plan to end homelessness. 

Five years into this plan, Denver’s Road Home has accomplished several of its numeric goals in terms of providing services, though the homeless population has grown. Though well short of ending homelessness among either chronic or temporary populations, DRH has managed to bring more than 1,500 housing units online for the homeless, and has made homelessness a central aspect of community action in Denver. 

The recession triggered a spike in Denver’s homeless population, which grew from 2,628 in 2005 to 6,659 in 2009, or almost a 61 percent increase. Much more needs to be done to solve the problem. Without the centralized services created by DRH, the coordination of faith based efforts to support the homeless and the infusion of money generated by DRH, this population will balloon more. 

Mr. Hickenlooper talks to us about how DRH started, what motivated him to throw his weight behind it, where we need to go from here, and how successful aspects of DRH could be applied across the state.

 

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