Complete Streets Greenways Safety & Education

2023 in Review

This was a seriously good year for making biking, walking, and rolling better in the City of Detroit. Here are some of the highlights.

Greenway Openings

  • Southwest Greenway – This 0.6-mile rail-trail sibling of the Dequindre Cut opened in May and provides a very convenient connection between Corktown and the RiverWalk. This also includes the 15th Street pedestrian/bicycle connection to renovated Michigan Central and Roosevelt Park.
  • RiverWalk Uniroyal Site – The long anticipated segment between the Mt. Elliott and Gabriel Richard Parks opened in October. Thousands of people came out for the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy‘s celebration. This closed the biggest gap on the East RiverWalk.
  • Joe Louis Greenway – The City of Detroit officially opened the Warren Gateway trailhead on Halloween. Calling it a trailhead doesn’t do it justice. It’s a great community gathering and play space. It’ll be a major destination along the JLG. The Meade Cut-Thru north of Hamtramck opened this year as well and provides another neighborhood connection to the greenway.

Complete Streets

  • East Warren saw some of its separated bike lanes upgraded with concrete curbs, landscaping, and much more from 3 Mile Drive to Cadieux. We’re advocating for extending the East Warren separated bike lanes west of St. Jean to the (future) Joe Louis Greenway, WSU, Woodbridge and more — especially since we expect this to be part of the Iron Belle Trail route.
  • Rosa Parks streetscape is a newly opened cycletrack from West Grand Boulevard (near the Motown Museum) to Gordon Park (near the Congregration). This project also removed a couple unnecessary vehicle lanes, which reduces stormwater runoff and nearly doubles the size of the adjacent MLK Jr. Memorial Park.
Map of Detroit showing streets that would get safety improvements by either rapid implementation or enhanced protection

Road Safety

  • Safe Streets for All funding – In February, the City of Detroit received $24.8 million in federal funding to improve its most unsafe streets. The city reapplied for additional funding from the same program and received another $24.8 million grant to address 56 high-crash intersections served by DDOT. This latter grant will also “conduct a Level of Traffic Stress analysis to address gaps in bicyclist/pedestrian networks, update the City’s Comprehensive Safety Action Plan, and pilot training for DDOT bus operators to ensure safe operations around people walking and biking.” This funding will lead to some community meetings and major street improvements in 2024.
  • Under state law, nearly all residential streets in Detroit have a default 25 MPH speed limit. No speed limit signs are required. During an earlier state legislative session, changes were made to this section of state law that would remove this default on January 1st, 2024. We supported a bill to keep the current residential speed limits, and when it got held up in the House, we worked to get it unstuck. It passed the Senate and was signed by the Governor.
Closed Spruce Street pedestrian bridge over the Lodge

(Dis)connecting Communities

  • Pedestrian Bridges – Freeways divide Detroit neighborhoods, so when they were first constructed, pedestrian bridges were added to help reduce this disconnection. Through the years, MDOT has not maintained these bridges and many of them are now closed. We’re involved at the local, state, and federal levels to address the lack of maintenance, non-compliant ADA designs, and their outright closures, most recently with the Canfield Bridge. We are expect to have more updates in 2024 as we stay on top of this.
  • I-375 Reconnecting Communities – We are pleasantly surprised that there’s been more vocal opposition to the overbuilt replacement boulevard than the freeway removal itself this year. This continued pressure along with new post-COVID traffic counts could lead to a tighter boulevard design that’s better for bicyclists and pedestrians. It’s much less expensive to do a road diet before you build it. Stay tuned for updates and more public meetings in 2024.
Miles of Bike Infrastructure (Centerline)New for 2023Total
Bike Routes (sharrows)042.4
Bike Lanes (includes 0.25 miles removed on 14th Street in Corktown)2.593.2
Detroit Greenways Coalition infrastructure database

Leave a Comment