Dequindre Cut Greenway
The idea was simple: more of Detroit’s residents should be able to walk, stroll, or hop on a bike and cruise, uninhibited by traffic and cars, from their homes and schools to the City’s assets. Compared to 9% nationally, over 25% of households in the City do not own a car, isolating them from key community assets. Since its inception, the greenway has provided residents in adjacent neighborhoods access to an environment that boasts a safe route for non-vehicular modes of transportation; enhances the quality of life by encouraging an active lifestyle; and connects to employment centers, the beautiful Detroit Riverfront, cultural institutions and fresh, locally grown produce available at Eastern Market, while spurring a variety of adjacent economic development opportunities.
The Dequindre Cut, formerly the Grand Trunk Railroad line, hadn’t functioned in years. The depressed rail corridor, a 25-foot deep fissure through the landscape, was overrun by invasive trees, contamination and dumping, but it also became a collection for impromptu art installations and graffiti. We recognized its potential – not just to be repurposed for connections and activity, but to celebrate the past and the future of industry and street art as a voice for the community. Dequindre Cut symbolizes an enduring vision for Detroit’s promising future as a city connected by reclaiming community assets.
Today on the Cut, a 2-mile, non-motorized urban greenway, pedestrians and bikers abound. With a designated path for exercise, a community of movers has emerged. There are the daily morning walkers, the Saturday afternoon rollerbladers, and cyclists that hit the trail for fun, fitness, or their daily commute. There are the trees that shade and shelter the trail; the lights that illuminate once night falls; the acclaimed graffiti, the resonant voice that echoes the Cut’s history and celebrates the resiliency and beauty of the community.
With a variety of community events - Soirees on the Greenway, the Detroit Institute of Arts Inside|Out program, fit camps, running clubs, wedding photo shoots and receptions - this city, known for its cars, now shifts its focus to a community of humans, who now have a place to celebrate and be celebrated in one of Detroit’s most iconic public places.