| Follow Us:



Detroit Greenways Coalition

PO Box 32013
Detroit, Michigan 48232

Todd Scott

By MJ Galbraith
April 25, 2014

No matter how many people want something for their town, and no matter how many people don't want something for their town, it typically takes a central force to initiate change. Causes need champions, regardless of the task at hand. When it comes to making the city of Detroit more pedestrian-friendly, for walking and biking alike, one of those champions is Todd Scott, Detroit Greenways Coordinator for the Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance.

Todd first got his start in biking advocacy as a biking enthusiast, though he's quick to point out he nearly ran as many miles as he biked last year—which is a lot. And though he got his start in biking advocacy with a mountain biking group, he's most interested in on-road biking and running issues and corresponding urban design. He now leads the Detroit Greenways Coalition, working with local advocacy groups, the state, city council, and the mayor.

“One of the mayor's big thrusts is to get more people back in the city. Making the city more bikeable and walkable is really a low-hanging fruit,” says Todd. “There's people wanting to move to cities that are more walkable and bikeable. You don't have to do a whole lot to make that happen in Detroit.”

Of course, Todd is doing a lot to make that happen. He spends each day running from one meeting to the next, trying to organize and connect any number of different groups and projects all the while searching for the money necessary to get things built.

The Detroit Greenways Coalition held its first board meeting in February 2014, evolving from a loose group of stakeholders to a more unified organization. It should allow the coalition to grow and accomplish more in the city. It allows, too, for the coalition to gain better access to funding.

“One of the things we realized early on, we were told by funders that all the little individual groups couldn't get their greenways funded because the foundations wanted to see the bigger picture -- how do these all tie together, what's the big picture, what's the priority,” says Todd. “So the groups got together in 2009 and came up with a Detroit greenways master plan, so to speak, that shows how the greenways could all connect up. We took portions of the city's non-motorized plan. So it's on-lane bike lanes connecting up with other on-lane bike lanes, greenways, and trails into one big comprehensive network.”

That master plan is an impressive network of paths and lanes, many that are already complete or are in various stages of completion: already in construction, about to begin construction, or nearing funding goals. Todd is involved in extending the Dequindre Cut, connecting the popular greenway to Eastern Market and then splitting off to Midtown and downtown Hamtramck. The Link Detroit project, as it's called, should be completed by November 2014. Todd says that the Cass Avenue Non-motorized Project will be bid out by September 2014, a project that will improve biking on Cass Avenue from New Center to the Detroit River. It will include new bike lanes, bike counters, and fix-it stations with air pumps for tires.

He's also working on grant-writing for the Inner City Greenway, a 26-mile track made up of on-road and off-road bike paths that will circle the city. The big focus is on acquiring an 8 ½ mile abandoned railroad to transform into a greenway similar to the Dequindre Cut. There are always more bike lanes to be completed, too, and then there's that bike share study he's involved in. He also wants the group to renovate the Belle Isle Athletic Shelter and make it a trailhead. So when Todd Scott says that there's not a whole lot needed to make Detroit more bikeable, it's probably because he's already working on it.

All photos by Doug Coombe. 


Share this page
Signup for Email Alerts

Twitter Feed

Related Resources

  • Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan
    Building community capital is at the heart of the Community Foundation's organizational mission. 

    The Community Foundation works to encourage endowment-building as an effective means to address community challenges and opportunities.