Below are highlighted events and projects involving Detroit biking, trails, and Complete Streets since 2000.


  • Detroit Summer begins Back Alley Bikes. The original purpose of the shop was to provide transportation to youth participants. It has since grown with highly-success earn-a-bike programming and a supporting commercial bike shop.





  • The City of Detroit publishes the Downtown Transportation Master Plan which calls for “the improved integration of bicycles into the transportation fabric of downtown.” It also notes, “While recreational bicycling is relatively common along the riverfront areas, little utilitarian bicycle use has been observed within downtown, as a lack of roadway facilities and end-of-trip amenities (such as bicycle parking or shower/change facilities) is prevalent throughout most of the area.”


  • First segment of Conner Creek Greenway is built with funding with federal Transportation Enhancement and philanthropy. When completed, this greenway will stretch from the Detroit River to Detroit’s northern border at Eight Mile Road.
  • Detroit’s first bike lanes are implemented on Belle Isle.




  • The Detroit Greenways Coalition brings the city’s non-motorized plan before Detroit City Council where it is unanimously approved. Council also passes a resolution in support of greenways in Detroit.
  • The Kresge Foundation awards $3.5 million in funding for the Conner Creek Greenway, Dequindre Cut, Midtown Loop, and Detroit Greenways Coalition.


  • Detroit Greenways Network Vision 2009The Detroit Greenways Coalition develops a citywide Detroit Greenway Network Vision.
  • The Detroit Food and Fitness Collaborative launches with funding from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation. This includes an Active Living committee that establishes two goals: (1) Building more trails and greenways; and (2) Promoting more Complete Streets by engaging the community and getting a city ordinance passed.
  • The first mile of the Dequindre Cut Greenway officially opens.


  • The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) installs bike lanes on Michigan Avenue using American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding. These are the MDOT’s first bike lanes on a state trunkline within Detroit.
  • Phase I of the Midtown Loop Greenway breaks ground. This is a project Midtown Detroit Inc. and this initial phase is funded with Transportation Enhancement and philanthropic investments. Later phases also use ARRA.
  • Greening of Detroit in partnership with the Detroit Greenways Coalition launch a greenway maintenance program funded by the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan.


  • The Southwest Detroit Greenlink opens including 20 miles of bike lanes. This is a project of the Southwest Detroit Business Association and built with federal Transportation Enhancements, philanthropic, and other private funding.
  • The City of Detroit builds a segment of Complete Streets using Federal Local Safety Program funding administered through MDOT. Each year the city has received $2 million in funding which has allowed it to improve safety for all road users by building many miles of Complete Streets and improved intersections.
  • The first Slow Roll bike event begins with about a dozen cyclists.


  • Link Detroit project for Tiger-IIIThe City of Detroit receives $10 million in federal TIGER funding for the Link Detroit project. This $20+ million project focuses on non-motorized improvements, including an extension of the Dequindre Cut with a connection to Eastern Market, bike lanes connecting to the city of Hamtramck, and a pathway connecting to Midtown.
  • A non-motorized plan for Detroit’s Greater Riverfront East District is published. This plan includes significant community engagement that indicated residents wanted more trails for both walking and biking.
  • Detroit Future City is published. This strategic planning framework calls for more greenways, Complete Streets, and support for multi-modal transportation.
  • The Detroit Greenways Coalition supports Adventure Cycling’s creation of an Underground Railroad Bicycle Route from Mobile, Alabama to Owens Sounds, Ontario via Detroit.
  • The first Detroit Bike City expo is at Cobo Center. In 2014, the show draws 3,000 people and over 120 vendors.


  • The Inner Circle Greenway receives a $1.1 million funding commitment from the Transportation Alternatives Program to acquire 8.3 miles of abandoned Conrail property. When completed, this 26-mile greenway will connect neighborhoods and destinations in Detroit, Hamtramck, Highland Park and Dearborn. It is the major spine connecting non-motorized projects within the city of Detroit.
  • The Detroit Bike Share Partnership publishes a Bike Share Feasibility Study for Greater Downtown Detroit. The system is expected to launch in 2016 with $1 million funding from the federal Transportation Alternative Program, transit grant funding, private funders, and philanthropy.
  • The Woodward Complete Streets, a Woodward Avenue Action Association project begins with funding from the Federal Highway Administration. This 27-mile study is the longest Complete Streets project in the U.S. Roughly one-third of the study is within Detroit and Highland Park.
  • The Detroit Greenways Coalition is incorporates and receives 501(c)(3) status the following year.
  • Michigan Governor Rick Snyder announces plans to develop a cross-state biking and walking Iron Belle Trail from Detroit’s Belle Isle to Wisconsin.
  • Detroit City Council passes a resolution calling for bike lanes and a walking path on the New International Trade Crossing bridge being constructed between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario.
  • The Detroit Riverfront Conservancy publishes an economic impact study. To date, the Conservancy has raised $121 million in public and private funding. This has resulted in $639 million in public and private sector investment, $43.7 million in annual consumer spending, and $4.5 million in annual tax revenue generation. There are more than 3 million annual visitors to the riverfront. Riverfront improvements have supported 16,700 construction jobs, and provide on-going annual support for 1,300 jobs.


  • Inner Circle GreenwayThe State of Michigan awards $3.4 million to complete acquisition of the Conrail property for the Inner Circle Greenway. The Kresge Foundation awards $600,000 to planning the greenway. The estimated funding required to complete the Inner Circle Greenway is over $20 million. The city expects to apply for TIGER VII funding in 2015.
  • The Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, and Michigan Department of Transportation launch a study for I-375 alternatives – including removal — with one goal being improving non-motorized transportation within the study area.
  • The Detroit Riverfront Conservancy opens West Riverfront Park.
  • The Downtown Detroit Partnership begins non-motorized planning effort for the downtown area. One planning aspect is how to connect the downtown to the burgeoning bike lane and trail network developing around it.
  • Over 7,000 cyclists participate in the Tour de Troit. Upwards of 4,500 cyclists participate in the Slow Roll. Over 100 cities throughout the U.S. and the World are seeking to start their own Slow Roll chapters.
  • The City of Detroit and Jefferson East Inc. create designs for the protected bike lanes on Jefferson Avenue. When built in 2015 with federal Transportation Alternatives Program and philanthropic funding, they will be the first in Michigan.
  • MDOT commits $1 million to make bike improvements along Cass Avenue from New Center to the RiverWalk. The city also receives $1 million in TAP funding to complete the final phase of the Midtown Loop, also along Cass Avenue. Both will be completed by 2015.
  • MDOT releases Phase I of Community and Economic Benefits of Bicycling in Michigan report. It finds over $20 million in annual economic impact within two Detroit neighborhoods. It also recognizes the city’s growth in bicycle manufacturing with companies such as Shinola and Detroit Bikes.
  • There are nearly 200 miles of bike lanes, marked bike routes, and off-road pathways in Detroit.


  • The first protected bike lanes in Michigan are build on E. Jefferson while the City makes plans to extend them to E. Grand Boulevard.
  • The Downtown Detroit Partnership agrees to launch a public bike share program in the Greater Downtown area.
  • The Detroit Riverfront Conservancy completes two more segments of the RiverWalk on both sides of Chene Park.
  • The Michigan DNR awards money to acquire former rail properties as part of the Belt Line Greenway, which will become part of the Iron Belle Trail.
  • The City of Detroit applied for TIGER VII funding to build the western leg of the Inner Circle Greenway, which unfortunately was not selected among a very competitive field.
  • Three automated bike and pedestrian trail counters — the first in Michigan — are installed on the Dequindre Cut extension.
  • Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan appoints Maurice Cox as his Planning Director.


  • Planning Director Maurice Cox declares that Detroit will become the #1 bicycle city in the U.S. on his watch.
  • Link Detroit is officially opened. It extends the Dequindre Cut and Midtown Loop while building bike lanes to Hamtramck.
  • The City of Detroit submits a TIGER VIII grant for the Inner Circle Greenway.