Detroit’s 2-wheeled revitalization: Bicycles help bring Motor City back to life

This autumn’s Tour de Troit, an annual fundraiser for the Motor City’s emerging array of bicycle infrastructure, saw more than 7,000 riders take to the streets under a dark and windy sky.

This was another impressive showcase event demonstrating how bicycle culture has taken root and flourished in what’s long been an auto-centric city. As the city of Detroit, Michigan takes steps with federal, state and regional partners for new transportation investments—one that hopefully sees cars share the roads more equally with bikes, pedestrians and transit—challenges abound.

Struggling to emerge after decades of population loss and a historic municipal bankruptcy, Detroit has become a national symbol for a ground-up, do-it-yourself revival.

Arts organizations from Brooklyn, tech refugees from San Francisco and whiskey distillers have been setting up shop in the city, attracted by the prospect of building from scratch and a lower cost of living.

As Detroit looks ahead at its future surface transportation landscape, which includes the M1 Rail streetcar project that’s now under construction, cycling investment and other new infrastructure is looking more and more like a smart choice.

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