January 2010

In This Issue...

National News

  • Greetings from Executive Director Dennis Markatos-Soriano
  • Contacting your Congressman or Senator
  • The East Coast Greenway is on your social networks

Regional News: Southeast

  • Midway, GA to Ft. Pierce, FL
  • Jacksonville
  • The Week That Was

Regional News: South Atlantic

  • Virginia Capital Trail: 4th section open!
  • Raleigh's Greenway Controversy
  • Moving forward in Charleston, SC

Regional News: Mid Atlantic

  • Newark to Jersey City: Big News!
  • DC: Met Branch Trail new construction
  • A Simple Stroll: 50 mi one-day walk on the ECG
  • Second Westchester (NY) Bike Summit
  • Guided Bike Ride: Manhattan to Tarrytown

Regional News: New England

  • Maine: Eastern Trail
  • NH: bridge crossing to Maine
  • MA: Blackstone River Bikeway news
  • RI: bikeway progress in Providence & Pawtucket
  • CT: New Effort in Fairfield County

ECG News Online
is a publication of the
East Coast Greenway Alliance, a national non-profit membership organization spearheading the development of the East Coast Greenway. The ECG is a developing 3,000-mile, traffic-free, firm-surfaced route linking cities and towns between Maine and Florida.

Dennis Markatos-Soriano: Executive Director

Steve Bevington: South Atlantic Regional Trail Coordinator

Kitty Carter: Office Manager / Membership Coordinator / Bookkeeper

Herb Hiller: Southeast Region Consultant

Kelly McClintock: Donor Program Coordinator

Dolores Newman: NJ Program Consultant

Mike Oliva: Mid-Atlantic Regional Trail Coordinator

Eric Weis: Trail Program Coordinator & New England Regional Trail Coordinator

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National ECGA News

Greetings from ECGA Executive Director, Dennis Markatos-Soriano

Your Outstanding Support Gets Us Ready for 2010

Dear ECGA members,

As we begin the New Year, I want to start off by saying thank you. The Great Recession has been hard on all of us - making the last year a difficult time to give to the charitable causes we care about. And yet so many of you gave generously to support our end-of-year fundraising drive, helping us raise twice our December income goal. This puts us in a great position to start off running in 2010 and accelerate progress throughout our corridor!

Your support made a trip possible for me to explore some of the lovely new greenway built in northern New England. I learned from local leaders such as Board member David Read of Massachusetts; Transportation Planner Scott Bogle of New Hampshire; and Eastern Trail Alliance President John Andrews, Boardmember Tony Barrett, and the whole crew in southern Maine. We spotted a red-tailed hawk next to the Charles River near Watertown, MA; enjoyed the windswept waves along New Hampshire's seacoast; and hiked through the snowy woods South of Portland, Maine. The hospitality of East Coast Greenway members and allies in northern New England was special, helping me get to know our great route from top to bottom.

The Alliance is excited to work with our partners throughout New England and further South as we move the East Coast Greenway toward national recognition in the year ahead. Greenway construction will provide green jobs to help our economy recover in 2010 and beyond, increasing our energy security as oil and gasoline get expensive again.

To help sustainably fuel our efforts, a generous donor recently stepped up with a challenge grant to match $50,000 in giving during the first half of 2010. If you didn't get a chance to donate in 2009, this provides a great opportunity to help us surpass 25% complete off-road greenway from Canada to Key West. With such a great start, the year 2010 looks poised to be one for the record books as long as we all keep working hard.

Onwards to a healthy and sustainable America!


Eastern Trail Alliance President John Andrews (l) and ECGA Executive Director Dennis Markatos-Soriano on the Eastern Trail, Scarborough, Maine. Photo by Tony Barrett

Contacting your Congressman or Senator

'Tis the season for appropriation requests from your Congressional and Senate representatives. Both of these elected officials provide forms for federal appropriation requests from organizations. Requests can be made for trail studies, design, and construction dollars. Many requests are being put together by our PA Committee members and a request has already been submitted for design and construction of a 4-mile pathway on Westchester Avenue, part of the ECG in New York. We encourage you to work with your elected officials to make appropriation requests for your portion of the ECG. Feel free to email ECGA Mid-Atlantic Coordinator Michael Oliva with any questions.

Click here to find contact info for your House Rep, and here for contact info for your Senators.

ECG on Facebook and LinkedIn

To learn more about the ECG, see photos, and meet other Greenway supporters, we invite you to check out the ECG on Facebook and LinkedIn! See you there!

Regional News: Southeast
Herb Hiller reports:

Midway, Georgia, to Fort Pierce, Florida

Nobody's main route today and likely never to be otherwise. But Midway-Fort Pierce aligns my main trek this week in quest of the path we do seek for mainstreaming some 400 miles of the Greenway through its southern-more sections.

Midway this evening hosts the annual meeting of the Coastal Georgia Greenway, our counterpart organization whose route runs congruent with ours between Savannah and St. Marys. CGG Executive Director Jo Claire Hickson has lined up an impressive turnout of state legislators, mayors and agency people at work helping craft her route - our route - through six coastal counties. I'll speak at the program about the 2011 Savannah-Northeast Florida 2nd annual Workshop on Wheels, a tour I'm directing for the group that next winter will trace the coastal route between Savannah and Jacksonville, return by Amtrak.

After an overnight with Jim and Pat Bacote at Geechee Kunda, their Riceboro interpretive center for Gullah-Geechee heritage, I'll drive early tomorrow morning to Fort Pierce.

Fort Pierce centers Florida's relatively laidback tri-county Treasure Coast that links big Palm Beach County south and Brevard County, hub of Florida's Space Coast, north. In Fort Pierce, I'll work with new folks at the St. Lucie County Transportation Planning Organization and with the Kimley-Horn consulting team for advancing the county's north-south cycling corridor that could also newly partially re-align our Greenway route.


En route to Midway, I'll make two Jacksonville stops. First is with Downtown Vision Inc. Executive Director Terry Lorince, and then at a public media session organized by Jacksonville Mayor John Peyton to announce the agenda for his last 18 months in office before term limited. Trail Council member Steve Davis and I have been working with Lorince and other downtown leaders on a route for the Greenway between the coast and hub city.

The week that was

Highlights included one day entirely devoted to Adventure Cycling Association Executive Director Jim Sayer and prospective new ACA board member Donna O'Neal. Sayer was "showing the flag" through Florida. As advisory board member to the Florida Bicycle Association, I organized his time in St. Augustine and Jacksonville. Turnouts were good, including more than 50 at an evening program in southside Jax. Accompanying me for the day was Bike Florida consultant (and recently retired Bike Florida executive director) Linda Crider. O'Neal, with Sayer, is deputy chief financial officer for Florida, an ardent cyclist.

Maybe as early as year end Floridians -- and who knows how many additional Americans -- will learn about Florida trails through a new Spinning the Trails DVD series underwritten by the Florida Greenways and Trails Foundation for Bike Florida. In a nutshell, the series so far shows six Florida trails exactly as they'd be seen by a cyclist, thanks to a rear-riding filmmaker on a bike otherwise conventionally pedaled. The Spinning the Trails series will extend to Florida's portion of the East Coast Greenway soon as the project captures additional funding. I serve on the Foundation board and also chair the Visit Florida committee that's preparing to launch the state's new trails website in October. We want to promote Spinning the Trails tied to that launch.

The week also saw re-launch of the First Coast Trails Coalition under the leadership of Jacksonville Mayor Peyton and his chief of recreation and community programming Shorty Robbins. Afternoon turnout drew 45, including officials, consultants, cyclists and additional advocates. More to come.

Herb Hiller
Southeast Region Program Consultant

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Regional News: South Atlantic

Virginia Capital Trail: 4th section open!

A ribbon cutting was held December 17th in Richmond, VA to celebrate the completion of a 1/2 mile trail segment on the ECG Historic Coastal Route. This newest section of the Virginia Capital Trail runs along the James River from downtown Canal Walk towards the southeast. This trail will soon be part of the 55-mile Virginia Capitol Trail that will take travelers from Richmond to Jamestown Settlement, the Colonial Parkway and historic Colonial Williamsburg.

The rapidly growing Virginia Capital Trail is just one part of an exciting ECG bike route that connects Richmond VA to Coastal North Carolina. After the 55 mile Virginia Capitol Trail, travelers can take a free ferry to Isle of White County where delightful county highways provide excellent biking. After passing through Suffolk VA, the ECG historic coastal route makes its way down to North Carolina on the Dismal Swamp Canal Path, an 8.5 mile section of old Highway 17 that is closed to motor vehicles.

L-R: Former VDOT Secretary of Transportation Pierce Homer, former Virginia Governor Tim Kaine, & Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones

Raleigh's Greenway Controversy: Your Support Needed

Within several years, the greenway system in the Triangle area of North Carolina will soon span hundreds of miles including more than sixty miles of ECG trail. However, the greenway system in Raleigh is in danger of being severed by a small group of vocal neighbors. They object to signage directing trail users through their subdivision on public streets and sidewalks for the 2.5 blocks needed to connect greenway segments. The neighborhood association has proposed two alternate routes that would add unnecessary time, cost and distance to a direct link though the neighborhood. They are making the familiar but unfounded arguments about potential crime and loss of property values. In fact, the opposite of such concerns are more often true: a well-used greenway can prevent crime and increase property values.

For more information on this problem and what you can do to help, email Sig Hutchinson to help keep the ECG rolling along.

Moving Forward in Charleston

Charleston County is implementing one of the most successful local government land and water conservation programs in the nation. Since June 2006, the County has leveraged $160 million to protect and conserve 15,000 acres of Lowcountry forestland, farmland, wetlands, parks, open space and greenways. The East Coast Greenway will directly benefit from the success in Charleston County. The route of the East Coast Greenway travels north-south along coastal highway US 17, through the city of Mount Pleasant, across the designated ECGA segment on the Ravenel Bridge, into and through downtown Charleston and then along the dedicated sections of ECGA on the West Ashley Greenway. The County and its partners are working to acquire additional right-of-way and close gaps in the ECGA route throughout the County.

by Chuck Flink

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Regional News: Mid-Atlantic

Newark to Jersey City: Big News!

The ECG has been awarded a grant by the The Helen & William Mazer Foundation to identify, map, and sign an on-road ECG route from Newark Penn Station to the Hudson River waterfront. We are very excited for this opportunity, as the stretch of ECG from Newark to Jersey City is the only section of the route where we recommend use of public transit. The available roadways are simply too dangerous at present; this is the toughest gap area along the entire ECG.

Over the coming 18 months, we will raise awareness of the importance of connecting New Jersey's two largest cities so that cyclists and walkers can travel between them in a safe manner. Thanks once again to The Helen & William Mazer Foundation for this exciting opportunity; we look forward to working with them on this critical project.


DC: Met Branch Trail New Construction

Lots of progress on the Metropolitan Branch Trail in DC! DDOT (District Department of Transportation) has implemented a few new sections of trail which are now parts of the current ECG route. We hope to sign the entire on road portion of the ECG and Met Trail portion of ECG in DC by this spring. For more details go to metbranchtrail.org or take a look at the ECG google map of DC & MD right here.


A Simple Stroll

ECG member Paul Kiczek will be walking 50 miles in one day along the ECG in New Jersey, finishing in Manhattan, on May 23 to raise awareness for the ECG and a healthier more active lifestyle. We hope our supporters can join Paul for shorter walks of 1 mile to 5 miles along his journey. For more details go to this site. Bookmark it and check back periodically, as more details are still to come!


Second Westchester Bike Summit scheduled!

Mark your calendar! SECOND WESTCHESTER BIKE SUMMIT, Thursday, May 6, 3 - 6 pm, Greenburgh Town Hall. Info: westchesterbikewalk.org. The Summit is being funded by the Westchester Community Foundation.


Another NY Greenway Tour!

GUIDED BICYCLE RIDE FROM MANHATTAN TO TARRYTOWN, Sunday, March 28, departs 9 am from Bike and Roll, Hudson River Greenway at 43rd Street. A leisurely 30-mile one-way ride (with return options) along the East Coast Greenway and Westchester trails, largely off-road. Leaders: ECGA Mid-Atlantic Trail Coordinator Mike Oliva, Anthony Savarese, and WCC leaders. Tax-deductible donation to ECGA encouraged. Details and registration can be found here.

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Regional News: New England

Maine: Eastern Trail

Great strides for Maine's Eastern Trail in 2010! The Maine Turnpike Authority will advertise for a trail bridge spanning I-95 in Biddeford, for 2011 construction (though possibly this year), and another 6.2 mi of the ET will be built this year, from Biddeford to West Kennebunk. The extension from Cascade Rd to Saco will also be built this year. Dizzying progress! The ECGA is proud to work with the Eastern Trail Alliance.

ET and ECG supporters at the site of the future trail bridge over the Maine Turnpike. Photo: Tony Barrett

NH: bridge crossing from Portsmouth to Maine

The New Hampshire-Maine crossing is still a question mark. While the ECG currently uses Memorial Bridge (US Rt 1 between Portsmouth, NH and Kittery, ME), the bridge needs extensive (& expensive) repair work and the states have not yet resolved how to proceed. While alternatives are being studied on how to proceed with this historic structure, proposals are also being floated to upgrade a nearby bridge for bicyclists and pedestrians. Learn more about this issue here. A decision must be made soon, as engineers estimate that Memorial Bridge has only 1 to 5 years of life remaining.

Memorial Bridge, as seen from Portsmouth NH

MA: Blackstone River Bikeway news

The Blackstone River Bikeway (BRB) will run nearly 50 miles, connecting Worcester, MA and Providence, RI, the second and third most populous cities in New England. While RI has made great progress building its portion of the BRB (half complete), progress has been slower in Massachusetts. There is good news, though. The Canal District (a Worcester neighborhood) received a $7 million grant for bringing the BRB through the neighborhood. This will largely be used for streetscaping. A little further south, prospects are good that an easement from Walmart will allow for the trail to be extended northward from its current terminus. Hopes are high that construction will happen this year. We will keep you informed.


RI: bikeway progress in Providence & Pawtucket

A new segment of the Blackstone River Bikeway has reached near-final design. The stretch from Pawtucket Town Landing (Pawtucket, RI) to Richmond Square (Providence) will be entirely on-road for the foreseeable future, using signs, bike lanes, and "sharrows" to mark the way. Construction should take place later this year. Design is also underway for the ECG as it makes the connection from India Point Park to the Providence Riverwalk. A public hearing to review designs is scheduled for 6 pm, February 1 at the Vartan Gregorian Elementary School Library/Community Room, 455 Wickenden St, Providence.


CT: New Effort in Fairfield County

The first meeting of the new Fairfield County [CT] Bike-Ped Alliance is being planned. This session will be critical to setting vision, goals, and strategy. Among the projects that the group will undertake are the Merritt Parkway Trail (future ECG) and the interim route of the ECG across the county. If you'd like to get involved, please sign up for the listserve.

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ECG News Online is a publication of the East Coast Greenway Alliance, a national not-for-profit membership organization dedicated to promoting the establishment, preservation, sound management, and safe use and enjoyment of the East Coast Greenway, a 3000-mile, continuous route linking seaboard cities and towns from Maine to Florida. It aims to be 100% traffic-free.

~ Support the Greenway by becoming a member of the ECGA or sponsoring a mile of trail today.

~ Get Involved! Volunteer, write a letter, help spread the word...learn about all the ways you can help create the ECG.

~ Comments? Suggestions? News? Contact the ECGA at info@greenway.org.

~ Learn more about the East Coast Greenway by visiting our website, or call us at (401) 789-4625.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Copyright 2010 East Coast Greenway Alliance