By Charles Sercombe
Hamtramck’s portion of the Joe Louis Greenway bike path continues to take shape.
Street markings for the bike path were recently created on Jos. Campau, starting at Holbrook and running south to Hamtramck Dr.
The path is only for bikes, and there is no parking in that lane.
It’s all part of the ongoing installation of the 30-mile path that will connect Hamtramck to Detroit, Dearborn and Highland Park.
Eventually, Hamtramck Dr. – starting at Jos. Campau and proceeding west — will get repaved, and have its own pathway.
Part of the path runs through the Jos. Campau alley on the west side, from Caniff to Holbrook.
Funding for the project comes from several sources, the main source of which is from the federal government. The pathway is expected to be fully completed within several years.
The alley portion of the Hamtramck path will feature murals, and the space will open up for community events.
Cars and delivery trucks will still be able to access the alley.
According to the city’s website, the alley is a “unique greenway experience, (and) is designed to attract people to the vibrant and active Hamtramck Downtown. With opportunities for programming, dining and access by adjacent businesses, this segment will connect users to shopping, amenities and jobs.”
Reaction to the project has been mixed on social media.
Former City Councilmember Phill Kwik praised the project.
“This is wonderful news. Congratulations. It is the culmination of decades of hard work by a lot of people,” Kwik said on the city’s Facebook page.
He was part of Preserve Our Parks, which first proposed a bike path back in the 1990s.
Justin Petrusak, however, is wary of what connecting to other communities means.
“What a sinister way to gain public support for the ceding of the public’s land to another government.”
For some Yemeni-owned businesses on the southend, the bike lane threatens a loss of customers, because parking has been lost in front of their markets.
Nasr Hussain says it’s “racism” at work.
“From Carpenter to Caniff, the parking spots for cars weren’t touched because a multi-million dollar corporation and mainly white businesses will sue the city into oblivion, and to appease them bike lanes were moved to the middle of the street. And same thing from Caniff to Holbrook, where the bike lanes were moved into the alley,” Hussain said on a Facebook page called Hamtramck Square.
He continued: “From Holbrook to Hamtramck Drive, parking spots mainly servicing Yemeni businesses were painted over and made very wide to accommodate two lanes for bikes because these poor immigrants can’t fight back.”
Ahmed Alhaj said it’s a matter of a minority in the city dictating what the community should look like.
“This small minority wants to model Hamtramck like Ferndale because they can’t afford to live in Ferndale. So they hope that we start to like the same things they like or they plan on harassing people to pressure them to leave this city.”
The Community Economic Development Department is seeking community input, through the city’s website, about future development of the bike path.
To participate in the survey, go to this link:
Posted Feb. 3, 2023