Saturday, May 30, 2009

Bicycles-Only ‘Freeway’ Opens In Detroit

by Jebediah Reed


In Motor City, land of disused structures, an overgrown old rail line has been excavated and turned into a spanking new bike thoroughfare. While, technically, it is more a “greenway” than a “freeway,” there are entrance and exit ramps and multiple lanes separated by yellow lines. (Perhaps to make disused auto executives feel comfortable riding on it, now that they have plenty of free time to explore their community?)

The ribbon cutting ceremony, which took place yesterday, fell conveniently into National Bike Week. Though of late the path had already been seeing some action from pedestrians, stroller-pushing parents and, um, “graffiti artists” according to the Detroit Free Press. So the great battle of use vs. abuse is now underway.

The Dequindre Cut, as the route is called, is only 1.2 miles long, but it is seen as an early section of a planned 100-mile network of greenways that might eventually make Detroit less horribly tragic and depressing than it is today–a city defined by “open spaces” instead of “abject abandonment.”

Speaking of, the Free Press article is called “Abandoned rail line ready for bikes, walking.” We wonder: what percentage of Free Press headlines over the past 5 years begin with or include the word “abandoned”? If it weren’t Friday afternoon we might even do a Nexis search.


The Dequindre Cut, before

Photos: Corine Vermeulen-Smith from a larger body of work called ‘Your Town Tomorrow’ See a video at Treehugger

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