HISTORIC MICHIGAN: Detroit’s Abandoned Old Pedestrian Tunnels
Did ya know that Detroit pedestrians had their own subways? Well, sorta.
They were called "pedestrian tunnels" that went underground from corner to corner, to avoid waiting for heavy traffic to move along. These tunnels originated back in the 1920's, as a solution to cut down on the number of accidents...children were getting hit by vehicles as they made their way to school, and the heavy traffic that was caused by the nearby Ford plant was a main cause (96 kids were killed in 1924 alone). Plus, it saved the city money as well, not having stop lights or traffic cops.
Keep in mind, there were no freeways so traffic was extremely congested in neighborhoods as commuters wormed their way to work and kids walked to school.
Smack inside Detroit is Highland Park, where most of these tunnels were excavated: there was one at 2nd Avenue @ Cortland, 2nd Avenue & Pilgrim, John R & Candler, and in Detroit at Cass & Peterboro (SEE PHOTOS BELOW).
The Highland Park city engineer was quoted back in the 1920's, saying, “Everything has been done to make the tunnel acceptable to children and to the average pedestrian. We have made the stairs an easy grade, the interior of the tunnel pleasant, and done everything to ensure it’s generous use.”
Nowadays, they are still there, but sealed up...relics of a time gone by. They are still interesting things to come across if you're in the area. To learn more and to see pictures of these tunnels while they were in use back in the 1920's, CLICK HERE.