$2 Million Wilson Foundation grant will connect neighborhoods “everywhere” and to “everything”

$2 Million Wilson Foundation grant will connect neighborhoods “everywhere” and to “everything”
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Greenways will soon take Detroiters from 8 Mile to the Riverfront and everywhere in between. That’s the “gist” of the anticipated impact of a $2 Million Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation grant announced by Mayor Mike Duggan today.

Neighborhood residents, who remain largely disconnected by roadways that split neighborhoods and partial pathways that lead “nowhere,”  will soon be fully connected by the Inner Circle Greenway (ICG), a 26-mile recreational path that will provide non-motorized access to city parks, commercial corridors, job sites, the riverfront and downtown.

Mayor Mike Duggan is excited about the potential of expanded pathways designed to connect Detoiters “everywhere to everything.”

“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,” says Mayor Duggan.

 The completed pathway is anticipated to encourage commerce and a greater sense of community between downtown and midtown residents.

Bike racks may actually become a necessity at area restaurants and shops, hungry for increases in customer traffic.

With organized city rides attracting thousands of bikers weekly, the economic impact of improved pathways cannot be underestimated.

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.

Organized rides like Tour de Troit attract hundreds and sometimes thousands of riders, who stop and Detroit’s most iconic eateries and shops. Photo courtesy of Tour de Troit

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.

Residents will get a chance to weigh-in on how the greenways connecting their neighborhoods will look and feel.

 A request for proposals for framework consultants will be released in late summer this year, according to a city spokesperson. Studies, surveys and the community engagement process with residents living near the greenway will start Fall 2017 and wrap up early spring 2018.

Renown Detroit muralist Hubert Massey is a proponent of improved bike pathways. He rides at least 10 miles daily, often passing by the stunning neighborhood murals he created, like this one in Southwest Detroit. Photo by Tim Galloway

 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.

Editor’s Note: To learn more about organized neighborhood rides and other activities that help keep families active see TheHUB’s GOguide, supported by the Michigan Fitness Foundation.

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