Midtown Loop Greenway breaks ground in Detroit

Today was a big day. Another greenway in Detroit — the Midtown Loop — was officially under construction starting this week and there was a celebration on the lawn of the Detroit Institute of Arts.

From this UCCA/CFSEM press release:

Construction is underway on the Midtown Greenway, a four phase, two-mile greenway trail that will circle through Detroit’s University Cultural Center, Wayne State University and Medical Center and Brush Park districts.

Today at a press conference held at the Detroit Institute of the Arts, organizers officially broke ground to signify the start of the first of four phases of construction. When completed, the linked trails will provide eight miles of continuous greenways, enabling people to go from Wayne State University through the Eastern Market to the Detroit Riverfront.

“One of our main goals with the development of the Midtown Greenway is to reclaim the rights-of-way for pedestrians by creating a widened walkway, improving ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) crosswalks, and adding pedestrian traffic signals,” said University Cultural Center Association President Susan Mosey. “By adding such amenities along the route as outdoor seating, pocket parks and pet-friendly features, this trail will contribute to the quality of life and the lifestyle of the community.”

Mosey noted that only the first phase (Kirby and John R) is under construction and should be completed this year. She expects the Canfield segment construction will begin this fall with the Cass section beginning in 2011. The entire loop should be ready to go by the end of next year.

But that’s not all. The UCCA is also working on non-motorized connections to the Dequindre Cut.

And as we’ve noted before, this greenway is geared towards pedestrians and slower cycling. Commuters and faster cyclists may prefer sticking to the streets. This is similar to the current RiverWalk vs. Atwater tradeoff.

TellUsDetroit.com did some excellent interviews which are now on-line.


One highlight? Sunny Jacob from Traffic Engineering explaining this project’s focus on Complete Streets and livable communities — something the city of Detroit is now pushing.

This project is all about making the street safe and walkable for all uses… and its the new concept called Complete Streets. We are pushing forward with the city of Detroit to make new communities and make them user friendly for all the uses.

Secretary LaHood — Detroit’s talking the talk and would make an excellent candidate for the next round of federal TIGER (as well as ACT) funding.

We’ve uploaded a video of Al Fields speech. Al is Mayor Bing’s Group Executive for Planning, a very active cyclist, and the one you should thank for Detroit’s first bike lanes (on Belle Isle.)

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3 Responses to “Midtown Loop Greenway breaks ground in Detroit”

  1. Detroit's Midtown Loop Greenway and the Rise of the "Street Grid Greenway" - RTC TrailBlog - Rails-to-Trails Conservancy Says:

    […] week, Detroit broke ground on the Midtown Loop Greenway, a 1.8-mile route that connects educational and cultural attractions […]

  2. Dave Says:

    Are you very familiar with the type of research, surveys, feedback, and even studies, that were conducted, that encouraged various parties to go forward this this project?

    Or was it merely various interests within the area looking to capitalize on something they can market? This seems like a glorified sidewalk and I would have to believe funding was part of the issue in regards to making something truly useful for various age groups, perhaps something similar to what you would find in Amsterdam–now THAT would be something worthy of the title of “Midtown Loop” or “Midtown Greenway” and truly be marketable.

    I don’t come down to Midtown much anymore (commuted to WSU) and yet to ride it much if at all and would seem to be OK for just what it appears to be intended for–walking or for very young or very old cyclists at relatively slower 6-10 MPH pace within a 1-2.5 square mile segment of Midtown.

  3. Todd Scott Says:

    I wasn’t around when the Midtown Loop idea was born. It is recognized now as a high-end streetscaping project that connects the cultural, medical, and educational destinations for pedestrians, or as you note, slow cyclists.

    In the past, it was promoted more as a bicycling and pedestrian project. I know I’ve voiced my issues with it as have others. The new Midtown Loop connector to Eastern Market will be both a sidewalk and bike lanes. Midtown and the City are looking at bike lanes on Cass as well.

    It’s a shame it wasn’t designed more like a sidewalk with a two-way cycletrack on John R. However, that’s a design which has only received acceptance in the U.S. lately. I’m not sure MDOT would have funded such a project when the Midtown Loop was first started.

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