The Dequindre Cut is a below-grade pathway, formerly a Grand Trunk Western Railroad line. Originally built in 1830 at grade level, the line was dropped below street level in the 1920’s along with 21 other lines running through the City of Detroit to help ease the traffic congestion in the bustling industrial city. As the century progressed and rail usage declined many of the rail lines running through the City were slowly decommissioned. Usage of the Dequindre Cut was completely halted in 1985.
The abandoned Dequindre Cut became a breeding ground for graffiti artists that were attracted to the concrete bridge abutments and overpasses that protected the art from the weather, as well as kept the late-night artists out of sight from the authorities.
In 2003 the GreenWays Initiative granted the Downtown Detroit Partnership $98,000 to coordinate a plan to remake 1.2 miles of the Dequindre Cut into an urban greenway. The project was funded by another $3.4 million in grants and opened to the public in 2009. The Dequindre Cut now connects the East Riverfront and several residential neighborhoods to Eastern Market with pedestrian and bike paths, indigenous plants, graffiti and other urban artwork.
In 2016 another half mile of the Dequindre Cut was completed with a $10 million grant as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and includes a trailhead entrance at Eastern Market, a canopy, bike racks and seating.