Conner Creek Greenway gains one more mile of bike lane

One mile of St. Jean between Jefferson and Mack has new bike lanes, the first in the city not on Belle Isle or near the riverfront. They were completed by the City of Detroit's Department of Public Works with Recovery Act Funds, designed by Hamilton Anderson Associates and funded by the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan via the Kresge Foundation.

The bike lanes are part of an overall vision for a 9-mile greenway that roughly follows the path of Conner Creek and ultimately connects the Detroit River with the city's northern boundary of Eight Mile. This fall, another mile of bike lanes and a pathway into Maheras Gentry Park will be built; by the end of 2012, 6.5 miles will be complete. "We thought it would take us about 10 years to build this 9-mile greenway, from first inkling to first plans to completing construction," says Libby Pachota Levy, who is spearheading the project for the Detroit Eastside Community Collaborative, the greenway's sponsoring organization. "And we're actually on target ... by the end of 2013, there will be a 9-mile link for all East Side neighborhoods."

Pachota Levy credits DPW with being proactive on the St. Jean section of the project. "We learned from Jose Abraham at DPW that the City would be repaving St. Jean this spring/summer and, since it fell within the boundaries of the planned Conner Creek Greenway, we requested installation of bike lanes," she says. "Using specs from Chicago, we worked with Hamilton Anderson, DPW and Traffic Engineering to redesign the roadway to accommodate bike lanes. The lanes are accompanied by a green landscaped berm, making it a great place for both walking and biking."

Building the greenway is not DECC's only task -- getting residents to use it is equally important, says Pachota Levy. "In addition to slowly and steadily building out each phase and keeping it on track, we are also slowly building awareness, getting people out there, active and using the greenway," she says. Activities include bike rides, Camp Greening in partnership with Greening of Detroit, walking clubs and kayaking.

Source: Libby Pachota Levy
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh

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