Thursday, May 14, 2009

Things to Do Thursday: Dequindre Cut Greenway

Spring is here in Detroit! (Isn't it?)

A great place to visit this weekend is the "old-is-new" Dequindre Cut Greenway. From the Boll Family Y Newsletter:

The Dequindre Cut Greenway, an urban recreational path connecting the east riverfront with the Eastern Market district in downtown Detroit, will open to the public on Thursday, May 14 with a grand opening ceremony. While the bike path is already accessible, the grand opening ceremony will include activities and entertainment between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

The 1.2-mile paved greenway was developed through a public, nonprofit and private partnership. The Dequindre Cut is part of a growing network of greenway paths developing around the city.

At more than 60 feet wide, the below-grade trail serves as a paved biking, walking and running path while still offering plenty of surrounding green space. It stretches from Woodbridge Street to Gratiot Avenue, 1.2 miles, with exit ramps at Lafayette Boulevard and Gratiot.

Model D told a little history of the Dequindre Cut:

November 22, 2005
Not so long ago, up until 1982 to be exact, a metro Detroit commuter could hop on a passenger train in Royal Oak and jump off within a short walking distance of the then-6-year-old Renaissance Center.

The train would race south through Ferndale, slice through the western boundary of Hamtramck, and through various residential and industrial sections of Detroit, before it reached a declining piece of landscape called the Dequindre Cut. The track entered the Cut on the northern edge of Eastern Market, near Wilkins St., and remained 25 feet below the surface until it matched the grade of the streetscape in what was then a growing nightclub and restaurant district called Rivertown.

Commercial train traffic continued for a few more years, followed by 20 years of abandonment and neglect. As so often happens in Detroit, however, that combination stoked fires of artistic inspiration, creating a natural canvas for guerrilla painters, sculptors and writers, who remade portions of the mile-long stretch into an unofficial art park.
This is a wonderful chance to get outside with your bikes and ride around Downtown Detroit!

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