We spent time with city staff taking photos in Detroit neighborhoods that demonstrate the need for greater investment in better walking infrastructure.
From non-existent sidewalks to impassable ones, we didn’t document anything that was uncommon to Detroiters. In fact, during our journey we were stopped by neighbors asking that we visit their area in hopes of getting their sidewalks improved.
We thought it might be best to simply share our photos. Clearly, these need to be improved if Detroit is to become serious about building 20-minute neighborhoods.
This Kercheval sidewalk is blocked from overgrown vegetation, a very common sight.
MDOT has closed this sidewalk along the Mt. Elliott bridge over I-94 and is apparently using it to hold up the bridge wall.
Not only are there no sidewalks along this portion of Joy Road, there's no railroad crossing for pedestrians.
This railroad signal placed in the middle of the sidewalk is not ADA-compliant. Imagine trying to cross this in a wheelchair.
This Banglatown sidewalk has all but disappeared through lack of regular maintenance.
This MDOT intersection on Larned at Randolph has been missing some pedestrian signal heads (Walk/Don't Walk) for months. A pedestrian was recently killed in this crosswalk.
This curb and pole block the sidewalk on Mt. Elliott at W. Vernor making it not ADA-compliant. Ironically, the curb was likely added for the ADA sidewalk ramp.
A DWSD barricade has been placed over a missing segment of sidewalk in the Islandview neighborhood
This snow from a nearby parking lot was piled on this sidewalk along Kercheval near Mt. Elliott.
This neighborhood sidewalk has significant gaps. Anything 2 inches or more is a liability for the city.
Do you have any poor walking conditions in the city of Detroit that you wish to highlight?
If you watched Mayor Mike Duggan’s Keynote at the 2016 Mackinac Policy Conference — and you bike, walk or just love trails — you probably weren’t disappointed.
While the Mayor spoke across a wealth of topics, he did highlight existing and planned greenways and protected bike lanes as tools to “build a vibrant Detroit with opportunity for everyone.”
First, he touted the RiverWalk, Dequindre Cut, and how both are “jammed” with people walking and biking. These are competitive advantages that Detroit has which the suburbs do not. The Mayor recognizes the need to capitalize on these advantages.
Next he introduced the idea of a 20-minute neighborhood where every non-work trip can be made with a 20-minute bike ride or walk. That makes sense for many reasons. Cars are expensive to own and operate in the city. Providing less expensive transportation options is smart. It’s also highly desirable for those who chose not to drive. With most jobs for Detroiters located outside the city (for now), it’s not realistic to focus on bike commuting to work.
The high city-owned vacant land within these neighborhoods presents an opportunity to build residential greenways, not unlike what you currently see winding through Lafayette and Elmwood/Central Park. These would connect with protected bike lanes through commercial corridors and form a safe non-motorized network to help meet the 20-minute trip goal.
Again, these unique neighborhoods offer competitive advantages over many suburban neighborhoods where biking and walking are poor. Or as the Mayor note, you need to jump in your car and drive to the strip mall to buy a gallon of milk.
The initial three 20-minute neighborhoods are at McNichols/Livernois, West Village, and Southwest Detroit near Clark Park.
Lastly, the Mayor mentioned the Inner Circle Greenway and how it ties these 20-minute neighborhoods together and to the Dequindre Cut, RiverWalk, and more.
Below is the video of the entire presentation, though we’ve skipped forward to the portion that discusses greenways and bike lanes.