Posts Tagged ‘Gleaners’

Beaufait Greenway Community Visioning Meeting

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

Planning is underway for a rail-trail project just east of Mt. Elliot. Unlike the Dequindre Cut, most of this railroad is not below ground, except for a portion at Jefferson.

Below is information on a public meeting to discuss this potential greenway project —

Gleaners Community Food Bank is hosting a community forum in Detroit on March 3rd. The forum is to discuss the concept of developing a greenway on the abandoned rail corridor connecting the riverfront to Gratiot Avenue between Beaufait and Bellevue streets. The presentation portion will provide an overview of the project and its connection to similar projects in Detroit and lead to an open discussion on the feasibility of this effort and the opportunity for community member input, questions, and concerns.

Refreshments will be served.

When: Thursday, March 3rd 2011, 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
6:30 PM presentation followed by questions/answers

Where: Gleaners Community Food Bank, 2131 Beaufait Street, Detroit, MI

If you have any questions, please contact Guy Williams ( or 734-395-9836).

City of Detroit bike project updates

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

Corktown/Mexicantown Greenlink

The Greater Corktown Development Corporation spearheaded this Greenlink plan that would make Detroit’s Corktown and Mexicantown neighborhoods some of the most bike friendly places in Michigan. Among other bike facilities, the plans include about 20 miles of bike lanes. The Tour-de-Troit has been raising money for this project for some time as well.

However, the Greater Corktown Development Corporation has suffered financial issues as reported by Crain’s Detroit Business, but the project is moving forward.

To continue work on the Corktown-Mexicantown Greenlink project to connect those communities to Detroit’s west riverfront, Greater Corktown has secured an agreement from Southwest Detroit Business Association to serve as the new fiduciary for the greenlink, a project it’s worked on for over five years.

SDBA is working with Greater Corktown, the Michigan Department of Transportation and the Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan to combine as one project the greenlink, the Southwest Detroit/East Dearborn Greenway it’s been shepherding, and other walkway and bike path work the city has planned for west Vernor, said Kathleen Wendler, president of the business association.

“I like to think of it as SDBA adopting the infant we took care of for some time but are currently unable to raise,” said Kavanaugh, a freelance writer and co-owner of Wheelhouse Detroit Bike Shop.

Yesterday at Councilmember Ken Cockrel’s Green Task Force, Detroit Traffic Engineering said they still hope this project can begin by the end of this construction season. Detroit’s W. Vernor project (from Waterman to Lansing Street) is expected to be done this year — which also includes bike lanes and improvements to that unlit (and nearly unpaved!) railroad underpass west of Livernois.

Once these three projects are completed, there will be bike lanes all along W. Vernor. This will greatly improve access to the amazing restaurants and bakeries in Southwest Detroit — an unbeatable fueling station for cyclists.

Villages CDC Planning & Bike Ambassadors

Model D is reporting on a recent grant awarded to the Villages CDC which include non-motorized planning.

The Villages CDC has been awarded $215,000 from the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan for greenways and bike lane planning and design. The money will also be used for community outreach and construction documents. Villages board member Kim Clayson hopes to complete this pre-development phase by February of next year.

While details are yet to be worked out, The Villages hopes to link its community up with other existing and planned greenways in Detroit, including the Dequindre Cut, Detroit RiverWalk and Conner Creek Greenway. Partners will include the Detroit Eastside Community Collaborative, Detroit RiverFront Conservancy, Creekside CDC, Jefferson East Business Association and Gleaners, since the agency is preliminarily planning a connection from its food bank to the Riverwalk.

Regarding the Gleaner’s Food Bank, they too received a grant for a feasibility study. That study will look at converting the abandoned railroad east of Beaufait into a trail. That railroad property runs from the Uniroyal site on the Detroit River (just west of the bridge) to Gratiot. This potential trail would also connect with the Capuchin Soup Kitchen and their Earthworks Farm.

The Villages CDC grant is also funding the development of a bike ambassador strategy for Detroit. The Active Transportation Alliance out of Chicago will be working with local stakeholders to develop this strategy based upon their successful program in Chicago: Mayor Daley’s Bicycling Ambassadors.

Mayor Daley’s Bicycling Ambassadors work toward the following objectives:

  • to increase the number of trips made by bicycle
  • to reduce the number of bicycle-related injuries
  • to help all users – bike riders, motorists, and pedestrians – better share roads and off-street trails.

To accomplish these goals, the Ambassadors appear at events throughout Chicago to reach as many Chicagoans as possible with bicycle safety education. Ambassadors talk face-to-face with Chicagoans and give presentations to kids, teens, and adults by participating in community events.

There are also Junior Ambassadors who “work with the Bicycling Ambassadors to deliver bicycle safety messages to their peers.”

There would certainly be many benefits having a similar program in Detroit, and thankfully the Villages CDC and the Community Foundation are planting that seed.

Bicycle tire history along the Detroit RiverWalk

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

Morgan and Wright tire advertisement from 1911One of the last major missing pieces of the Detroit RiverWalk along the East Riverfront is the Uniroyal site.

While Senator Carl Levin has secured funding for building this RiverWalk section and MDOT has agreed to manage the project, the site contamination remains a hindrance.

It’s called the Uniroyal site because it was home to tire manufacturing from as early as 1906 through 1980 — hence some of the contamination.

The tire history began when Morgan and Wright, the world’s largest bicycle tire manufacturer relocated from Chicago to Detroit.

According to this Detroit News history article:

Construction on the first buildings in the riverfront complex began in August 1905. Completed in October 1906, the plant housed the Morgan & Wright Bicycle Tire Co., once the world’s largest maker of bicycle tires. Morgan & Wright had migrated from Chicago to link up with Detroit’s developing auto industry. In its early years, the tire plant housed several of the annual Detroit Auto Shows. Initially the 750 people who worked there produced 350 tires daily. In 1906, company President Samuel P. Colt commented on the auto-rubber connection: “Judging from the past, the growth of the automobile tire business will be of momentous importance in the future. Ten years ago, rubber tires were not important. Now they consume one-half of the raw unprocessed rubber product.”

It’s apparent in the 1911 Morgan and Wright advertisement that early car tires owed much of their design to bicycle tires. Detroiter Horatio “Good Roads” Earle asked in this autobiography, “Whoever heard of ball bearings and pneumatic tires until they were used in bicycles?”

In addition, this web site has an interesting collection of Morgan and Wright history and photos.

Morgan & Wright was founded in 1891 by Fred Morgan and Rufus Wright, while the pneumatic safety bicycle was still fairly young, and the bicycle boom was just coming into flower. besides tires, they also produced other tire-related items (pumps, patch kits, tire repair accessories…) and other bicycle products (pedal rubbers, rubber toe clips, chain lubricant), and distributed a variety of other bicycle-related sundries through their catalogue. With the advent of the 20th century, the company gradually turned to the early automobile rubber market, moved to Detroit around 1906, and was bought by the U.S. Rubber Company around 1911 (a 1912 supply catalog I have refers to M & W tires now being marked as U.S. tire), and later became Uniroyal.

The Uniroyal site was also the site for stove and auto manufacturers. This industry was served by the Michigan Terminal, a now abandoned rail line that roughly parallels Beaufait. It’s the reason for the slight hump in Jefferson just west of the Lofts at Rivertown.

The Gleaners Food Bank is also located along this abandoned rail line. There is very preliminary talk of developing a rail-to-trail greenway from the food bank to the RiverWalk.

It’s interesting that after more than 100 years, this area will once again be a benefit to bicyclists.

Gleaners Ride on December 13th

Sunday, December 7th, 2008

This time of year, it can be difficult finding a good reason to brave the weather and ride your bike.

Here’s a good reason.

Next Saturday is a ride to benefit the Gleaner’s Food Bank in Detroit.  The ride starts at noon from The Hub (3611 Cass Avenue in Detroit).  We’ll ride around to several local grocery stores and buy non-perishable can goods.  You’ll need to bring about $10 to $15 and a bag to carry the cans.

Last year’s Gleaners ride was a great time despite the rain.

And don’t forget that the nearby Capuchin Soup Kitchen’s Earthworks program is looking for donated tools, especially bike tools.  This might be a good opportunity to double your donations.