Aspen Pedestrain Mall: The Upcoming Changes

The pedestrian mall is a historic landmark of the Aspen community, but it needs to be updated. The mall is over 40 years old and its underground infrastructure, including water pipes, has not been updated in all that time. The deteriorating system has become a danger to community members and the businesses on the mall. Anyone who has walked down the mall has noticed the deteriorating bricks and uneven surface, which is no longer up to safety codes. The renovation project will focus on the pedestrian mall on Hymen, Mill, Copper, and Galena streets, with construction scheduled to begin in 2020.
This project will make a big impact on the community of Aspen and the project design and development team has taken over a year to come up with a final design. Almost everything in the project design has been approved by the community: the city held surveys, open houses, and voting on the design. Mike Albert, the Principal in Charge of the project, has taken the community’s feedback into consideration while designing the project.
“Citizens who participated in open houses, surveys, and other feedback forums identified several goals for the project: to maintain historical integrity and character, improve the stormwater infrastructure system to protect the Roaring Fork watershed, increase mall accessible to meet modern codes, replace aging utilities to serve customer needs for the next 50 years, retain the Malls as an urban park with a strong commitment to urban forestry, and to engage the public and business owners in each phase,” said Albert.
Some of the biggest changes include; leveling and repaving throughout the mall, making stronger street connections, repairing memorial benches, moving the fire pit, the replanting and removal of 47 trees for safety and health reasons, planting 57 new trees, adding new features such as sculptures, new lights for light poles, increased bike storage and one of the biggest changes: renovating the Wager Park area. The sister cities monument next to Wagner Park will be incorporated in a water feature, and the bathrooms will be slightly relocated, increasing the “Tooth Park” area by 25%. Meghann Smiddy, a freshman at AHS is not excited about the upcoming changes.
“I think that they shouldn’t change anything in the pedestrian mall. It has been part of Aspen forever and should stay that way,” said Smiddy.
However, the mall cannot stay exactly the same due to safety codes and the needs of the community. The mall is an important part of the town of Aspen, and it will continue to be for future generations to come.
“For over a decade, I have been fortunate to call Aspen home. However, our team believes that living and working here also comes with the responsibility to keep Aspen special for future generations,” said Albert.

Durant connection before.
Durant connection after construction.
Wagner node before.
Wagner node after construction.
Trees at risk for removal.
Trees that are going to be planted.

All photos are courtesy of