You would think that one of the hallmarks of living in a city would be a robust infrastructure. Water and sewer, police and fire, and paved roads. So would it surprise you to know there are dirt streets in some of Michigan's largest and most important cities.

We're talking here about dirt roads within the city limits and maintained by a city's department of public works rather than, say, a rural township street that happens to have the postal address of a nearby larger city.

Detroit Dirt Streets

The subject came up recently on Reddit asking about dirt roads in Detroit. The OP mentioned a bit of Puritan Ave and there is a stretch of that roadway, shown above, on the city's border with Redford Township that is indeed dirt.

This neighborhood, South of Six, part of a little bit of Detroit that exists west of Telegraph Road. Five Points Street in this neighborhood is dirt for a few blocks as well.

As told on an online forum dating back to 2011, it's a bit of border/jurisdictional squabbling that kept these streets unpaved.

READ MORE: Michigan's 'Deteriorating Road' May Be the Most Ominous Sign in the State

Years past, Wayne County and Redford Twp elected not to pay a portion of the paving costs, Puritan is the boundary with Detroit.
In recent years, Redford got grants to pave most of their roads. Detroit did not offer to pay their share of paving Puritan.

The issue with unpaved roads on the Detroit/Redford border made news in 2018 with residents fed up with the undermaintained street.

The message board thread on Detroit dirt streets also mentions Ellen Ave being dirt. The street appears to be little more than an alleyway near where the Lodge and Davison meet.

Lansing Dirt Streets

Michigan's capital city also has some dirt streets within the city limits. Some are found on the northside where it's been North Lansing Against the World for decades before Detroit vs Everybody became a thing.

A stretch of Garland Ave in North Lansing remains dirt.

Dirt Streets in Ann Arbor

Even tony Ann Arbor has dirt streets within the city limits. Here to, like the South of Six neighborhood, it appears to be a township/city thing that keeps these streets unpaved.

The city of Ann Arbor has annexed portions of the surrounding township but left pockets of land outside the city limits. The jurisdictional patchwork has led to these dirt city streets. Ironwood Ave would be an example:

dirt streets in Ann Arbor
Google Maps Street View

Whether its an anomaly like a city's dirt street or a country back road, check out these must drive spots in Michigan.

50 of Michigan's "Must-Drive" Roads

Gas up the car, grab those road munchies and a roadtrip partner that you can trust, and head out on some of Michigan's most unique roads and routes. Make sure you take lots of photos and video!