Detroit: Is that you, friend? [Part III, Dequindre Cut]

Since NYC Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan has come into office, more than 200 miles of bike lanes have been installed (www.nyc.gov), a particularly daunting task considering the city’s density and street congestion. Detroit on the other hand has miles of open space for pedestrian-friendly walkways and bike lanes. But Detroit is the Motor City, and so any transportation that discourages car use is difficult to implement.

Despite such transportation prejudices, the city recently completed Phase 1 of the Dequindre Cut, an abandoned rail corridor that’s being transformed into a non-motorized trail.

 

An undeveloped section of Dequindre Cut that will eventually link the trail to the Detroit River

Funded by MDOT’s Transportation Enhancement Program and the Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan, Dequindre Cut will eventually link the Eastern Market District, the University Cultural Center Area, the Midtown Loop, and a number of residential neighborhoods.

Image courtesy of Detroit Eastern Market

As sustainability efforts become a part of the American mentality, many cities are developing new bike trails. What distinguishes the Dequindre Cut from other bike trails its unique integration of urban blight and nature.

The Dequindre Cut demonstrates the city’s ability to link together the various stages of its tumultuous 20th century history and find new meaning in the 21st century. As you bike down the Cut, there is a beautiful, clear view of Lafayette Towers. Built by Mies van der Rohe, Ludwig Hilberseimer, and Alfred Caldwell in 1963, the Towers are superb example of International Style architecture, and the influential role the city of Detroit has played throughout history.


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