May Creek Greenway

Michigan Central Rail lineThere are rail lines heading east from the Michigan Central Station in Corktown. They slope below ground and enter the Michigan Central Railway Tunnel, which connects with Windsor. This route follows the historic May Creek.

There used to be rail lines next to and on top of this tunnel (see its history here.) Their absence creates an opportunity for a greenway not unlike the Dequindre Cut.

While this greenspace is above the rail tunnel, it still crosses below other roads such 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 RiverWalk without tangling with motor vehicles. It would be a somewhat short bike superhighway.

We expect this greenway would become part of the Iron Belle Trail as well.

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 domestic double-stacked rail cars.) If that project goes through, Canadian Pacific might be willing to help with the greenway’s construction. However, the most recent bad news is this rail tunnel has been “shelved indefinitely.”

May Creek?

A creek once followed this rail corridor. in 1731, the French were calling it Ruisseau des Hurons (Creek of the Hurons) since there was a Huron Native American village here. It was later renamed May’s Creek after a James May, who’s home and business were along the creek.

Rail with Trail?

It may be possible to add a non-motorized trail alongside the existing railroad that continues northwest from the tunnel. Some rail tracks have been removed. There appears to be enough room for a trail with protective fencing from the Michigan Central Station to at least Junction.  This rail segment is above the street grade much like the High Line in New York City.

Proposed RiverWalk-to-Junction Trail in Detroit

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