Posts Tagged ‘Corktown’

Dequindre Cut west? A Corktown to RiverWalk trail

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

There are rail lines heading east from the Michigan Central Station. They slope below ground and enter the Michigan Central Railway Tunnel, which connects with Windsor.

There used to be rail lines next to and on top of this tunnel. Their absence opens the door for a greenway not unlike the Dequindre Cut.

While this greenspace is above the rail tunnel, it’s still below the roads it crosses: Rosa Parks, Lafayette, and Fort Street. And that’s the charm of this concept. One could get on the trail and get right on to the river. It would be somewhat short bike superhighway.

Here’s what makes this idea even sweeter. Canadian Pacific wants to add a third rail tunnel paralleling the existing pair. (The existing tunnels aren’t tall enough to accommodate double-stacked rail cars.) If that project goes through, Canadian Pacific might be willing to help with the greenway’s construction.

What do you think?

Keep in mind that the West RiverWalk hasn’t been constructed yet, but it will be in the coming years.


More bike parking along Corktown’s Michigan Avenue

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

There are plenty of bike infrastructure investments in Corktown these days. Here’s one more.

MDOT is doing streetscaping along Michigan Avenue between 14th and Rosa Parks (12th). Streetscaping is a big word for enhancing the sidewalks. Included in that streetscaping is much needed bike parking — a nice complement to the bike lanes installed last fall.

M-Live has more coverage:

MDOT is fully funding the project, which will benefit the up-and-coming retail strip that includes Slows Bar B Q and the newly-opened Astro Coffee.

“There’s a lot of activity going on there,” MDOT’s Vince Ranger told “It doesn’t look good to have these businesses renovating fronts with bad sidewalks. So we’re just trying to clean that up for them.”

To learn more about this project, MDOT is hosting an open house at the Gaelic League on September 7th from 4pm until 6pm.

New bikes lanes in Corktown and Southwest Detroit

Monday, August 1st, 2011

Have you seen the new bike lanes and bike routes being installed throughout Corktown, Mexicantown, and along West Vernor in Southwest Detroit?

This is not a new project. It started about seven or so years ago with the Greater Corktown Development Corporation and a grant from the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan. The goal was to make the area more walkable and bikeable while connecting it to the future West RiverWalk.

But much has changed since then. Greater Corktown went through financial issues forcing them to hand off the project to the Southwest Business Development Association (SDBA). In taking over the project, the SDBA expanded it to include bike lanes along most of West Vernor, connecting it with their existing trail through Patton Park.

The project design also changed over time, shifting from having some off-road paths to simply bike lanes and bike routes. The latter are being employed on roads that are too narrow for bike lanes.

In the meantime, the wildly successful Tour de Troit has generated additional funds for the project to keep pushing it forward.

Safety Grants

There’s one other piece. The city of Detroit applied for an MDOT grant to improve safety along a portion of West Vernor from Livernois to Waterman. As a result, the city is adding bike lanes along that one mile of Vernor. They’re also adding lighting beneath the viaduct just west of Livernois.

When completed, there will be 24 miles of new bike lanes and 11 miles of signed bike routes.

Building on this success, the city recently applied for seven safety grants and received six. The city is looking to add bike lanes to all six projects in 2012, which includes roads such as Central and West Chicago.

Bike parking, directional signs, and more

And there are additional projects which complement this work.

There are new bike racks being installed throughout the area by a handful of different groups. Have you seen the new cool bike racks at Clark Park? They’re across the street from Cafe con Leche.

Also, the SDBA is also looking at wayfinding — signs and maps that help guide bicyclists through the area. For example, a sign might provide bicyclists with direction and mileage on how to get to specific destinations like downtown, the RiverWalk, Roosevelt Park, and Patton Park. The posted mileage also reminds those who don’t bike just how close some places are — and that perhaps bicycling between them is easier than they may have thought.

This wayfinding project is looking to develop designs that can be used across the city, which would help keep signs more consistent.

Adventure Cycling should have their first of two maps completed this year for their Underground Railroad Bicycle Route through Detroit. That route has been located on West Vernor to take advantage of these bike lanes.

Now wouldn’t it be great if the West Vernor bike lanes could get you to the Rouge Gateway Trail and Hines Drive in Dearborn?

Corktown businesses pushing the pedals

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

Detroit Greencycle

By signing up for their services, Detroit Greencycle will pick up your recyclables transport them by bike to the recycling center. They also pick up compost items for eventual use in local gardens. They currently operate in the Corktown and Woodbridge neighborhoods.

This business fills a gap created by the lack of curbside recycling in the city of Detroit (except the two neighborhoods where it is being tested.)

Their services are given on their web site:

Detroit Greencycle offers curbside pick-up of recyclables and compost on a weekly ($20/month) or biweekly ($15/month) basis.  Pick-up is limited to one 18 gallon bin for recyclables and one 5 gallon compost bin. Additional bins for each are available for an additional $10/month.

Detroit Greencycle can make deliveries of 300 lbs in weight and less from local businesses including the hardware store, grocery store, local farms, and between neighbors.

They also have a Facebook page.

Corktown Cycles

According to the Corktown Cycles web site, they plan on being “the Newest Bike Shop In Detroit’s Oldest Neighborhood.”

Services will include new and used bicycles and equipment as well as full service repair and restorations

Our focus is to be a friendly neighborhood bike shop. We plan on offering discounts for kids, college students, and area residents.

They are located on 14th Street just north of Michigan Avenue and I-75.

Detroit could use more bike shops, so this will be a much welcomed addition.

Bicycle-friendly hostel opens in Detroit

Friday, April 15th, 2011

Hostel Detroit is having its grand opening this Sunday, April 17th.

This is the only hostel in all of Michigan and just the second among the Rust Belt cities. (Chicago being the other.)

According to their web site, Hostel Detroit is a 501(c)(3) non-profit whose main purpose is “providing safe, affordable accommodations in Detroit while educating patrons about the city.”

They also offer option bicycle rentals.

Detroit Moxie has a great article on this new lodging option in the North Corktown neighborhood. They quote Emily Doerr, the “force and passion” behind the hostel.

It’ll be cool for people to know that they can come, they can have a place to stay that’s clean, safe, affordable, and that’s not going to break the bank, but also can be this access point to all this other stuff in the city. When you travel you don’t need to print a map of the city, you just need to get to the hostel and they’ll take care of you.

People say that [Detroit] is a city of hidden gems and that it’s an insider city. It’s time for us to be a little more accessible.

While hostel-style lodging isn’t ideal for everyone, it is ideal for many bike tourists. Fortunately the Hostel is located along the proposed Underground Railroad Bicycle Route and will perhaps be along one or more future U.S. Bicycle Routes passing through Detroit.

U.S. Bicycle Route 20

And speaking of U.S. Bicycle Routes in Michigan, Crain’s Detroit Business has an article on them, but most specifically the soon-to-be-approved Route 20.

When approved in early May, Michigan will “become the first state in 30 years to get a new U.S. Bike Route.”

U.S. Bicycle Route 20 crosses east-west through the middle of the mitten, running between Ludington and Marine City. Eventually this route will continue west to Eugene, Oregon.

In case you were wondering, the route uses a ferry to cross Lake Michigan to reach Wisconsin.