“Southwest Greenway ” is a new name for what had been called the May Creek Greenway. The name may change again before the expected grand opening in 2022.
There 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.
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.
This greenway would become part of the Iron Belle Trail and a great opportunity for green stormwater infrastructure.
The Detroit Riverfront Conservancy in partnership with others like the Michigan Department of Natural Resources are currently planning this trail and expect to begin construction in 2021 with a grand opening in 2022.
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 (1756-1829), 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.
- Major Detroit project adds additional half mile of walkable pathways: Where it goes, Detroit Free Press, April 2022
- Detroit’s Southwest Greenway expected to start construction in summer 2021, Model D, June 2021