A plan to improve Detroit greenways and give bikers a safer, more seamless ride cleared another hurdle Monday.
The city proposal to buy land to lengthen the Dequindre Cut Greenway passed Detroit City Council's Public Health and Safety Committee, MLive reports.
The trail currently runs down a former Grand Trunk Railroad line on a path parallel to St. Aubin Street from the Detroit River to an area not far from Eastern Market. The proposed measure would allow the greenway to stretch from Gratiot Avenue to Mack Avenue.
If the proposal passes council, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Detroit Economic Growth Corporation and Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan will be picking up the $500,000 tab for the purchase of the land, according to MLive.
The extension is part of a larger vision that would also link the Cut to a Hamtramck trail and connect it to the Midtown loop greenway. In June, that project, which is called Link Detroit, was awarded a $10 million U.S. Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant. Its estimated total cost is $24 million. Backers have raised matching funds from a variety of sources including the Eastern Market Corporation, Midtown Detroit Inc., the Michigan Transportation Fund, the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund and the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, but still need an additional $5.3 million to see the project through to completion.
Interest in Detroit's cycling culture is growing in tandem with its bike lane network. City officials expect to have a total of 85 miles of bike lanes in place by the end of the year and to add another 70 miles in 2013.
Riders are coming out in droves, too. On Saturday, around 5,000 cyclists took to the city streets for the Tour de Troit, a popular bicycle ride that is held every year to raise money for the city's trails and greenways.
CLARIFICATION: This article originally stated the project needed to raise an additional $14 million. That figure has been adjusted to include matching funds from other sources. The name of the project has also been added.
Wiki photo by Andrew Jameson.
Check out images of the early days of Detroit cycling below: