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Development News

Greenway network announced for The Villages, Lower East Side

The GREEN Task Force represents more than just a plan for establishing greenway paths for non-motorized traffic throughout Detroit's Lower East Side. It's also a symbol of bringing a number of big players together to connect a number of neighborhoods and institutions on the Motor City's east side with the rest of the city.

The task force has been able to bring together residents from a number of neighborhoods on the east side by the Detroit River with city officials, Detroit Eastside Community Collaborative, Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, The Villages Community Development Corp and the Mt. Elliott Business Community Association, among others. The GREEN Task Force is funded by a $213,000 grant from the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan.

"Good things are happening on the east side," says Brian Hurttienne, executive director of The Villages Community Development Corp. "The GREEN Task Force brought everyone to the table. We're keeping everyone at that table."

The GREEN Task Force's Vision of Greenways program is providing a blue print for creating greenways, linear parks, bike lanes and other pathways for pedestrians, bicyclists, roller bladers and others who want to travel without an automobile near Detroit's east riverfront between the Dequindre Cut and Grosse Pointe Park.

The plan outlines 16 miles of new or expanded greenways, including the Elmwood Connector, Belt Line Greenway (a rail trail conversion), Kercheval Greenway, Burns Connector, Conner Creek Greenway enhancements, Sweet Loop, Fox Creek Greenway, Far East Connector, Carstens Spur and the RiverWalk Extension. More information on the plan can be found here.

The plan recommends creating enhancements include: making East Jefferson Avenue between I-375 and Alter Road a "Complete Street," creating bike lanes on Lafayette Street between Iroquois Street and downtown, connecting multi-family housing on E. Grand Boulevard with Belle Isle and connecting the Creekside neighborhood to the Marina District via Freud Street.

"If you have a safe way of getting somewhere it just makes life better," Hurttienne says. "Transit is going to be a big thing for not only us but the city and the region."

Source: Brian Hurttienne, executive director for The Villages Community Development Group
Writer: Jon Zemke

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