I rode my Schwinn eight miles through Southwest Detroit last week. Along Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd were several low-cost medical facilities, playfields, schools and gardens that weren't there when I rode the street 20-plus years ago. These indicate considerable funding put into the area in that time. The morning was cool, heavy and humid: some call that invigorating. Fearing broken street glass, I rode the 25 blocks to Junction on sidewalks. Only two piddles of glass -- and I passed just two party stores. Also passed fewer than ten subdued pedestrians. Great rains the weeks before, SW residents at work or plain civility could account for my untroubled ride.
A bike lane at Clark Street on Michigan was puzzling. The inside of the right lane is marked as parking; the maybe 4-foot strip next to the second lane is for bikes -- oh, and the 18-wheelers that don't see bikes.
The calm of the area was surprising -- no evidence of rowdyism -- but the many agencies and some businesses say this is not a dead area. That Southwest Detroit is growing, as the census and daily newspapers have been saying, is vouched for by this ground-level report.
Dennis Shea is a proofreader for Metro Times. He is also a total original.