Detroit’s revitalizing 26-mile pedestrian / bicycle greenway gets a $2 million boost

As readers of the new Resilience Strategy Guide know, there is nothing more revitalizing than a strategy that’s based on repurposing, renewing, and reconnecting a place’s assets.

As reported previously here in REVITALIZATION, Detroit, Michigan is doing exactly that with their emerging greenway, which repurposes an old rail right-of-way into a public pathway, renews the property environmentally, and reconnects many neighborhoods to help revitalize the city.

On July 13, 2017, the 26-mile recreational path took a big step closer to completion, thanks to a $2 million grant given to City of Detroit by the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation.

The grant will be used to fund the design and pre-construction of all uncompleted portions of the Inner Circle Greenway (ICG), including the recently purchased Conrail railroad property, connecting the entire 26-mile loop in the most impactful way.

Thanks to the Wilson Foundation, the City of Detroit is one step closer to getting a network of greenways that will take Detroiters from 8 Mile to the Riverfront and everywhere in between,” said Mayor Mike Duggan. “Whether it’s a resident biking to work or a family heading to one of our parks for a Saturday afternoon, the Inner Circle Greenway is connecting our citizens to everything our city has to offer.

The $2 million will be used to develop comprehensive design and construction documents for the Conrail property and all remaining unconstructed segments of the ICG, as well as an overarching ICG Framework that incorporates the half-mile corridor to either side of the greenway itself.

A non-motorized pathway, the Inner Circle Greenway connects the city’s neighborhoods and residents to Detroit assets like parks, commercial corridors, the riverfront and downtown. The Greenway makes use of existing paths like the Detroit RiverWalk and Dequindre Cut, will upgrade existing bike lanes like those on the Southwest Detroit Greenlink and build new on and off-road infrastructure to complete the 26-mile loop. With the funding from the Wilson Foundation, the uncompleted areas of the greenway project can move into the design and pre-construction phases.

With a careful and thoughtful design that ties together and connects the entire 26-mile greenway, residents will not only have better access to recreation, but also to more goods and services, and educational and employment opportunities,” said David Egner, President & CEO, Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation.

A Request For Proposals (RFP) for framework consultants will be released in late summer this year. Studies, surveys and the community engagement process with residents living near the greenway will start Fall 2017 and wrap up early spring 2018.

The ICG Framework will include recommendations for land use and zoning, green infrastructure, connections to public assets such as parks, way-finding, and thoughtful intersection with local and regional multimodal transportation routes such as the Iron Belle Trail, SMART bus network, and the new Gordie Howe Bridge.

The design and construction documentation developed through this project will include public rights of way, boundary, topographic and utility surveys. It will also include traffic analysis, assessment and recommendations, permits and approvals, bridge design and engineering, and construction administration.

The framework and design documents will be created with residents in mind and will include a robust pre-construction community engagement process. The project team will meet with impacted communities to get comments on proposed designs and incorporate residents’ feedback into the final construction plans.

The ICG Framework and construction design documents together will position the city to better access federal and state dollars to complete the construction phase of the remaining greenway segments.

The entire ICG project is expected to be complete by fall 2019.

Photo of Detroit’s Dequindre Cut Greenway courtesy of the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy.

See Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation website.

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