Model D writer Kelli Kavanaugh brings national attention to the Dequindre Cut with her piece in Metropolis Magazine.
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.
For many locals, the best part of the Dequindre Cut is its colorful
graffiti. During the 25 years that the rail line went unused, it became
a kind of open-air gallery overgrown with brush and home to wildlife
such as pheasants, foxes, and rabbits. The trail’s promoters have used
the project to preserve the graphic remnants of its days as a dystopian
nature trail visited only by graffiti artists, urban explorers, and the
homeless. “It was like a wilderness in the middle of the city,” says
Jim Griffioen, a Lafayette Park resident. “It was splashed with an
ever-changing archaeology of color that even the most stodgy decrier of
vandalism couldn’t deny was art.”
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