February 2011


In This Issue...


National News

  • Greetings from the Director
  • 2011 National Bike Summit: (1) ECGA can help you attend, and (2) ECG PARTY!

Regional News: Southeast

  • Riding the rails, looping the Greenway

Regional News: South Atlantic

  • Cannon Creek Greenway: Richmond, VA
  • Trail Activity in Greenville, NC
  • ECGA hiring in NC!
  • Recent press coverage in VA & NC

Regional News: Mid Atlantic

  • ECGA is hiring in NJ
  • NJ Bike & Walk Summit
  • New Advocacy Group in Jersey City
  • Manhattan's East Side
  • Trail Progress in Pennsylvania

Regional News: New England

  • Massachusetts ECG State Committee meeting
  • US Bike Route One / East Coast Greenway
  • Farmington Canal Heritage Trail fun ride: April 29
  • New England Bike-Walk Summit II

Social Networks:


ECG News Online is a publication of the East Coast Greenway Alliance.

Staff
Dennis Markatos-Soriano: Executive Director

Kitty Carter: Office Manager/Membership Coordinator/Bookkeeper

Herb Hiller: Southeast Region Consultant

Mike Oliva: Mid-Atlantic Regional Trail Coordinator

Eric Weis: Trail Program Coordinator


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National ECGA News

Greetings from the Director

Accelerating Progress in the South

Dear East Coast Greenway team,

The snowy winter is beginning to make way for the lovely green wave of spring, a progression of color that spreads from south to north.

In contrast, the East Coast Greenway was largely born in a wave flowing in the opposite direction. The early 1990s dream came from activists focusing initially on Boston-DC. For the last 15 years, our headquarters has been nestled in the small New England town of Wakefield, Rhode Island.

The site served us exceedingly well, a central base to launch quick trail progress from Maine to the Mid-Atlantic. Our New England and Mid-Atlantic route is now more than 30% greenway, with another ~20% in development. Florida staffperson Herb Hiller has helped achieve robust numbers in that state as well at ~33% greenway with over 100 more miles in development. These levels of progress make trail completion almost inevitable in those areas as long as we continue effective advocacy.

But our lack of investment through consistent staff focused on Virginia to Georgia has contributed to a less developed East Coast Greenway in the south. The route is less than 15% greenway and sparsely signed. To help remedy the situation, our organization has decided to make a strategic headquarters move to the Raleigh/Durham (Triangle) area of North Carolina. We will of course maintain our field offices in New England, the Mid-Atlantic, and Florida. But special focus on the South will help us bring the region's route to the higher standard being achieved within our model corridors.

Our Wakefield office will remain in operation until our end of April Trail Council meeting in Simsbury, Connecticut. New office details will be distributed by the April e-newsletter and future mailings.

A big thank-you to the community of Wakefield for being such an excellent host.

Here's to another great location where we can continue to grow our membership and thus our greenway!

To a Sustainable & Healthy America,

Dennis Markatos-Soriano


Photo by Steve Rosenbaum


National Bike Summit: ECG presence

We're planning to have a strong presence at the National Bike Summit (March 8-10), in Washington, DC. We are seeking representatives from certain states to carry the ECG flag. If you're from NH, MA, PA, DE, MD, or DC and you'd like to be an ECG rep, we may be able to subsidize your registration fee! Interested? Contact our Executive Director, Dennis Markatos-Soriano.

In related news: if you're in DC for the Summit (or for any other reason) be sure to reserve the evening of Wednesday, March 9 to come to the ECG pizza party at Pete's New Haven Apizza (that's NOT a typo, that's New Haven-ese for pizza) in the Columbia Heights neighborhood, found at the Columbia Heights Metro Station (green line). Party starts at 6:30, but if you get there a few minutes early, you can take advantage of the happy hour beer special that ends at 6:30. Please note that while ECGA is buying the pies, we are not buying the pitchers.

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Regional News: Southeast


Riding the rails, looping the Greenway

by Herb Hiller

Two events coming up promise great opportunity for our Alliance four years out.

The first, this Friday, February 18th, is the 3rd Annual Meeting of Partners of the St. Johns River-to-Sea Loop. Two further events focus the meeting. One is the 500th anniversary of Spain in Florida marked in 2013. The other that year (or next) marks start of SunRail, the commuter system that essentially links Kissimmee and Orlando with west Volusia's DeBary and a year later with DeLand.

The Quincentennial is all about Florida. It's a one-in-500-year opportunity to get people cycling from all over America to the Sunshine State. We're already working with Visit Florida to make the most of this.

At DeBary, SunRail will directly connect with our Greenway in the form of the five-county St. Johns River-to-Sea Loop. SunRail will deliver hundreds and thousands of cyclists for a week of touring the Loop.

Indeed, to highlight 2013, Bike Florida is already planning its annual mass spring ride for the Loop starting and ending in DeLand.

These opportunities call not just for event planning, but also for helping agencies and companies focused on economic development grasp the exceptional opportunity that this work focused on our trail represents.

And that will also focus my meetings in Washington during the National Bike Summit - my first. I'm hoping to meet with my Congressman, Florida House District #7 Representative John Mica. Rep. Mica has long championed trails. He's virtual godfather of the Loop, which lies almost entirely in his district. Whether to the Congressman or otherwise to his staff, I will emphasize the coming Florida 500th, the promise of SunRail for the Loop (Rep. Mica has consistently led support for this commuter rail project), and all the other ways that a 260-mile loop trail through his district can benefit his constituents in a singular and most cost-efficient way.

I need to say that as good as the mid-term looks for our purposes, the immediate short term looms troubling. That's because Governor Scott has accepted all budgetary cuts proposed by Florida's Department of Environmental Protection, which includes eliminating Florida's Office of Greenways and Trails and merging its custodial land functions (essentially that and nothing more) within Recreation and Parks. There's a push now by the Greenways and Trails Foundation and of course by many more to reach those legislators with most influence in the budgetary process. We very much want to spare OGT.

There's much good to report about Georgia that I will make the first subject of my March report. And second subject will be the report I've already once promised: up-to-date metrics from the Visit Florida trails website.

Meanwhile, here's a report from the Daytona Beach News-Journal on my long devotion to bicycling and trails.

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Regional News: South Atlantic


Cannon Creek Greenway


The latest project to pop up on the ECG radar screen for Virginia is the Cannon Creek Greenway in Richmond, Virginia. This potential piece of the puzzle runs alongside busy Richmond-Henrico Turnpike north of the Capitol, and is a rare green oasis in the heart of the city. A popular site for illegal dumping, creation of a trail here would beautify the corridor as well as provide the obvious transportation and recreation benefits. If you'd like to help advocate for the Cannon Creek Greenway, get in touch with Virginia heroes the Virginia Bicycling Federation.


 


Greenville, NC: FROGGS?


Friends Of Greenville Greenways, that is. And this advocacy group is making great progress in Greenville, a major stop on the ECG's Historic Coastal Route in NC. Local advocacy groups like FROGGS are the backbone of ECG development. We encourage you to visit the FROGGS website and learn what they've been up to in Greenville and Pitt County, and then find out what your local advocacy group has been up to as well.


 


ECGA hiring!


The East Coast Greenway Alliance is relocating its headquarters to Durham, NC, and seeks an experienced office manager. Please visit this webpage to see details. Closing date: March 15.


 


Great recent press coverage!


The ECG should see a boost thanks to a great editorial in Virginia Living and this recent news from the Wilmington (NC) Star News regarding project funding for a section of the ECG's Historic Coastal Route. If you see ECG-related stories in the news, let us know so that we can share the good news with our other readers!


 
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Regional News: Mid Atlantic


ECGA is Hiring in New Jersey


The ECGA is hiring for two new positions in NJ. The first is an Events & Outreach Coordinator whose job is to plan, publicize and host events and initiatives for the East Coast Greenway in New Jersey. This is a six month position at 15 hours per week. We are also looking for a college intern for the spring semester. The intern would work 5-10 hours per week and be given a $1,000 stipend for the semester. For more information and to apply go to http://www.greenway.org/employment.aspx. Deadline is noon on Sunday February 20.


NJ Bike & Walk Summit


Don't miss the 2011 NJ Bike & Walk Summit! Saturday, February 26th, 2011 from 8am to 2pm. For more info and to register go to www.njbikesummit.org.


Bike Jersey City


If you live in or near Jersey City a great new advocacy group, Bike Jersey City (www.bikejc.org) is starting to get organized and doing some amazing things. Please attend the next meeting where they will talk about the upcoming year's initiatives and planned events. The meeting will be at 8:00 PM on March 1st at Zeppelin Hall which is located at 88 Liberty View Drive, in Jersey City, near the Jersey Ave light rail stop.


Making the East Side of Manhattan more friendly to cyclists and pedestrians


The East Side Action Plan was launched last month in New York City with the help of Enrique Penalosa, former Mayor of Bogota and leader in bus rapid transit implementation. There will be a meeting Thursday, February 17th at (Vanderbilt YMCA, on East 47th Street between 3rd and 2nd avenues, 5th floor conference room) to review the East Side Action Plan recommendations (for the entire East Side and for each of the four community board areas: 11, 8, 6, 3) and discuss what Coalition members envision as the best next steps for the Plan. The East Coast Greenway's goals are to see bike lanes extended from 34th St. all the way up to 125th St. along 1st and 2nd Avenues, and ultimately to see a completed & continuous-multi use pathway along the entire East River.


Trail Progress in Pennsylvania


In Pennsylvania the East Coast Greenway continues to get completed. The 58th Street connector project should be built this year. A planning study for the Bensalem Greenway in Southern Bucks County will be started next month. When completed this will be a trail along State Road passing by many historic houses and parklands along the Delaware River.

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Regional News: New England


Massachusetts ECG State Committee meeting

Our Massachusetts State Committee will be calling a meeting shortly. The agenda will include updates on ECG-related projects from around the state, and a proposed realignment of the long-dormant alternate "southern" route connecting Providence to Boston. Date, time and location haven't been finalized yet. If you'd like to be kept informed of these details, email Eric to get on the mailing list.


US Bike Route One and the ECG

The re-emergent U.S. Bicycle Route System is making great progress in New England! U.S. Bike Route 1 will run from Maine to Florida, and most of the proposed route corridor is remarkably similar to the ECG route... hmm, wonder how that happened? The State of Maine has already submitted its application, and NHDOT is working on theirs. Massachusetts has had just one meeting but looks to move forward this spring. Neither RI nor CT have begun work on their applications. If you'd like to support using the ECG as US Bike Route One in those states, let Eric know.


Farmington Canal fun ride

What are you doing on Friday, April 29? Join the ECGA, Farmington Valley Trails Council, and Farmington Canal Rail-to-Trail Association for a bike ride from New Haven to Simsbury! A bus and a bike trailer will be available for those wishing to drive to Simsbury then get a morning lift to New Haven for the start, or to bring riders back to New Haven after the event. Details are still being nailed down. Contact Kitty to register. There is no fee to join the ride. If you wish to use the bus and bike trailer, that service is free to ECGA members, and only $20 for non-members.

Lock 12 of the Farmington Canal, adjacent to the trail in Cheshire, CT


New England Bike Walk Summit II

The first-ever New England Bike-Walk Summit, held last October in Providence, was a smashing, standing-room-only success. Thanks to demand, we are pleased to announce that the Summit will be held again, on Friday, October 7, again in Providence. If you have suggestions for good panel topics, wish to volunteer, to sponsor the event, or just want to get on the mailing list, please let us know!

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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 2011 East Coast Greenway Alliance
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