Detroit Breaks Ground on Joseph Campau Greenway, Connecting Neighborhoods to Riverfront

Construction is underway on the Joseph Campau Greenway, a $4.9-million, 1.2-mile greenway that will run from Vernor Avenue to the RiverWalk, connecting more neighborhoods safely to Detroit’s international riverfront. Phase one is expected to open this fall and phase two by the fall of 2020.
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Joseph Campau Greenway
Construction has begun on the $4.9 million Joseph Campau Greenway, which will connect neighborhoods to the riverwalk. // Rendering courtesy of the city of Detroit

Construction is underway on the Joseph Campau Greenway, a $4.9-million, 1.2-mile greenway that will run from Vernor Avenue to the RiverWalk, connecting more neighborhoods safely to Detroit’s international riverfront. Phase one is expected to open this fall and phase two by the fall of 2020.

The project, which was initially announced as part of the East Riverfront Framework Plan and will parallel the Dequindre Cut, includes new pathway construction, streetscape improvements, updates to recreation opportunities and, renovations of existing greenways.

“In the past, the riverfront was so industrial you could barely see it, and you definitely couldn’t get to it,” says Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. “Thanks to years of hard work, that’s no longer the case, and residents now deserve safe, beautiful connections to the riverfront. The Joseph Campau Greenway will provide residents with a safe and reliable non-motorized path connecting them to the RiverWalk, and other connections to resources and amenities across the city.”

Existing pathways have broken concrete, worn-out recreation courts, flooding problems, and other issues. The Joseph Campau Greenway project will renovate these existing portions and add pedestrian improvements, including:

  • A 10-foot, shared-use path for pedestrians and cyclists
  • Play opportunities and recreation features
  • New benches
  • Outdoor power stations
  • Mile markers
  • Green stormwater infrastructure to prevent flooding

The city also will install clear, well-lit entryways to the greenway and new landscaping, creating a landscape buffer between the path and residential units. The greenway will be managed by the City’s General Services Department and the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy.

“The Detroit Riverfront is one of the most diverse, safe and vibrant places in the city,” says Mark Wallace, president and CEO of the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy. “The Joseph Campau Greenway will become a tremendous asset for residents living in east side neighborhoods and it will provide them with direct access to the riverfront. We look forward to welcoming them to the riverfront when the greenway opens. Like the Dequindre Cut, the Joseph Campau Greenway will provide a wonderful pathway for Detroiters to come to the riverfront.”

Road crossings and streetscape improvements also are part of the project, allowing for safe pedestrian crossings at intersections along the greenway. Raised sidewalks will be installed across Larned and Lafayette streets, in addition to the entryways and landscaping, to calm traffic near the greenway.

The greenway will connect to the riverfront via a newly constructed path between Larned and Jefferson Avenue and on-street improvements on Jos. Campau Street. The new connection, a non-motorized path, will connect to new bike lanes, updated sidewalks, and a newly paved Jos. Campau.

A number of new security features are part of the Joseph Campau Greenway. The area will have strictly enforced hours of operation from 6 a.m.-10p.m. Cameras and emergency call boxes will be installed every 500 feet along the pathway and will be monitored 24-hours a day by the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy and the Detroit Police Department. New and improved lighting also will be installed. Bollards will be added to entry ways to restricted unauthorized vehicle access.

“The Detroit Riverfront is one of the most diverse, safe and vibrant places in the city,” said Mark Wallace, president and CEO of the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy.  “The Joseph Campau Greenway will become a tremendous asset for residents living in east side neighborhoods and it will provide them with direct access to the riverfront.  We look forward to welcoming them to the riverfront when the greenway opens this fall. Like the Dequindre Cut, the Joseph Campau Greenway will provide a wonderful pathway for Detroiters to come to the riverfront.”

Phase one, which includes construction from the RiverWalk to Robert Bradby Drive, began in May 2019 and is expected to be complete by fall 2019. Phase two will complete the greenway from Robert Bradby Drive to Vernor. Construction on phase two is expected to begin in spring 2020, with construction completed by fall 2020.

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