DENVER -- RTD invited members of the public to offer their opinions on the future of the 16th Street Mall. The transit agency is considering replacing the mall's granite tiles with more durable concrete.
The mall is showing its age with 400,000 granite pavers installed on the pedestrian walkway in 1982 slowly crumbling away, in part because of Denver's harsh winter weather.
It was become a $1 million a year maintenance and repair job for RTD.
"They're rerouting the buses because of working on the pavers, and it goes on constantly and it seems a ridiculous waste of money," said Judy Allen, who lives near the mall.
Allen is one of dozens who came to weigh in on several proposed design alternatives to replace the pavers in bus lanes with hybrid concrete material. It would better withstand wear and tear from shuttles that carry about 50,000 passengers a day.
"This looks a little bit cleaner as far as aesthetics go because the pavers themselves are nice but they're really dark," Ted Wuenzlick said.
Historic Denver is fighting any changes to the original design, saying it's a unified work of art. But RTD said constant freeze-and-thaw cycles are eroding the granite, disrupting bus service. It even makes the mall dangerous for pedestrians.
"The pavers are slick and individuals living downtown have fallen down many times on them," Jim McNally said.
RTD said its study is to evaluate ways to improve safety and cut maintenance costs, while maintaining the original aesthetics and spirit of design for the mall.
"The idea of having concrete where the tires of the buses go but leave that nice art work down the middle is the right way to go," said Herb Allen, who lives near the mall.
Residents can fill out an RTD questionnaire to weigh in on the debate.