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Soiree on the Greenway August 18 celebrates Dequindre Cut extension

soiree Photo credit Noah Stephens

You can bike to the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy’s fifth annual Soiree on the Greenway on Thursday, August 18 and park your favorite two-wheeler with a bike valet. It starts at 6 p.m. and it’s a garden party so keep that in mind when choosing your duds.

Patrons and supporters will celebrate the half-mile extension of the Dequindre Cut, which opened this spring and offers improved access to the heart of Eastern Market.

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Visitors and regular users will get an update on what is happening to transform Detroit into a bikers and walkers paradise. They’ll also be there as a new mural is commissioned and completed and can enjoy the food trucks and craft cocktails.

Indeed the Dequindre Cut, a rail spur once owned by Grand Trunk Railroad, now stretches to Mack Avenue and contains a lovely park and pathway at Wilkins Street. Now the path runs two miles from the river to the heart of the market.

A 20-foot-wide paved pathway has separate lanes for pedestrian and bicycle traffic, security cameras, telephones to call for help, benches to sit and relax and an abundance of urban artwork and graffiti painted by Detroiters and funded by events like the Soiree, this year called Riviere28.

The two-mile path is part of a $21 million endeavor, partially funded by federal transportation grants. Public support is vital. This path will connect with 20 miles of walking and biking paths in downtown, Midtown, Detroit Riverfront, Eastern Market and Hamtramck.

Wheelhouse Detroit offers bike rentals in Eastern Market and at the riverfront so people can rent bikes and cruise at their leisure.

MLive’s Khalil AlHajal joked in an April 29 story that the extension of the Dequindre Cut lets bikers and pedestrians skip the game of Frogger on the way to and from Eastern Market. In the video game, users compete to avoid racing cars, trucks and road hazards, much like reality. The path ended abruptly. Gratiot is a 10-lane street where traffic moves very swiftly, putting pedestrians at a definite disadvantage. With the underground passage from Gratiot to the market, people ride blissfully without traffic woes.

Visitors will notice warehouse buildings on each side of the cut that remind people of what this stretch must have looked like when it was a busy rail spur bringing people and products to Eastern Market and the greater downtown. Today several of these buildings are being transformed into market rate lofts and apartments. Come see what is happening.

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Presale tickets cost $40 until August 17. They are $50 at the door. The purchase price for Riviere28 members who pledge to support the Greenway includes four food tickets, four drink tickets, expedited VIP check-in and a RiverFront Conservancy swag bag. Non-members get four food and three drink tickets for use by the abundant food trucks parked at the Soiree. Wheelhouse Detroit offers complimentary bike valet services.

For information, http://detroitriverfront.org/soiree or call (313) 566-8200.

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