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Detroit’s Dequindre Cut Gaining More Attention

We posted last year about Detroit’s new Dequindre Cut trail, and want to again share a piece from Metropolis magazine on this great project. (The article webpage also features some great pictures of the new trail.) The Cut is the type of project that can show the role of parks, trails and other investments in public space in the revitalization of older, de-industrialized cities, Detroit being perhaps the granddaddy of them all. Here’s an excerpt:

Detroit’s Dequindre Cut is a walking-and-cycling trail running below street level along a stretch of abandoned rail line just east of downtown. Designed by JJR, a locally based landscape-design firm, the project cost $3.75 million, a drop in the bucket compared to the $110 million the region has already invested in greenway development. Still, the graffiti-lined trench has captured the area’s imagination like no mere bike path could. “The physical characteristics of the Dequindre Cut are unmatched anywhere in this region,” says Tom Woiwode, the director of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michi­gan’s GreenWays Initiative, one of the project’s main funders. “It’s developed a level of enthusiasm that we’ve never seen.”

The trail’s first phase is a mile-long segment that includes restrained landscaping, two strips of asphalt (one for pedestrians and the other for bikes), light­ing, security phones, and benches. A full half of its width is left untouched to accommodate a prospective light-rail line. But what the trail connects is as important as how it looks. Its three access points are the recently redeveloped Detroit Riverfront; Lafayette Park, a well-established residential community that boasts the world’s largest collection of Mies van der Rohe buildings; and the southern end of Eastern Market, a popular outdoor market with specialty shops and restaurants.

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