Making connections with Detroit Greenways

The Heritage Newspaper’s Press and Guide had a recent article on greenways in Metro Detroit.

It’s a good article with a focus more on the Dearborn, Detroit, and Downriver areas.

Still, we’re a little unclear about some statements.

Detroit is leading the way in the endeavor, and currently has more greenways than any other city in the country, quite a change for a city that built its reputation on the automobile. In Detroit’s favor, it is a city with many, many miles of unused railways, which advocates hope will eventually be converted totally to greenways.

We’re not sure the city of Detroit has more greenways than any other city, but it could very well be among the leaders from an investment perspective.

And this is a great quote from Tom Woiwode of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan.

“Ultimately, the goal of the GreenWays Initiative is to connect all the communities in southeast Michigan and to link the system with projects outside the region,” said Woiwode. “In the meantime, watching as greenways are embraced by a region known for the automobile continues to be a pleasure.”

The article does end on a flat note.

“Every day, we are a little closer to being able to travel the whole tri-county area without ever setting foot on a road.”

That’s neither true nor realistic — and not even desirable. Many of the planned greenways in Detroit are partially, if not 100% on the road.

Riding on roads is not a bad thing to be avoided. What we need to avoid is building roads that don’t safely accommodate bicyclists. We need Complete Streets.

Chances are we’re not building a greenway to your front door. Or your school. Or your work. We just need to fix the roads between your starting and ending points.

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3 Responses to “Making connections with Detroit Greenways”

  1. Roy Tousignant Says:

    I just filled out the Greenways survey for the lower east side, but I can’t say that I had much to offer in “greenway” suggestions. Like you I find myself looking for more reasonable on-road accommodations, instead.

    My biggest gripe right now is Jefferson Ave from Downtown to Belle Isle. It’s just far too many road crossings, driveways, and bus stands to ride the sidewalk safely at any good speed without risking a blind-side collision. In-the-road seems only more dangerous considering the high volume of traffic, the ~35mph defacto speed thereof, and the wild maneuvers of thoughtless motorists taking altogether too much liberty with the eight-lane wide road.

    The Riverwalk is only an alternative if you don’t mind meandering. It’s a good, fast stretch for two or three miles, but the closer you get to Harbortown, the more it starts to cut bank and forth; and that’s when it isn’t momentarily ceasing to be altogether, leaving you to invent routse through back-alleys and around gated parking-lots to continue. All the diversion probably adds a mile.

    The Riverwalk for leisure, of course… FTW! But for transit? Even the Riverwalk authorities aren’t keen on that.

  2. Todd Scott Says:


    I think others share your view. There’s a time for taking the slow, twisty scenic route and there’s a time to simply take the shortest route to your destination. This project is looking at both scenarios.

  3. mike white Says:

    The easy path is to go inland one block to Larned out to Mt Elliot,
    but that will probably not be the direction bike lanes will take.
    Balancing recreational use with commuters needs will not work; educating drivers to look out for bikes will take longer than my cycling career will last.
    The survey seemed directed more toward locals than cyclists as a whole, however at least Detroit is taking baby steps forward.

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