February 2010

In This Issue...

National News

  • Greetings from Executive Director Dennis Markatos-Soriano
  • Going to the National Bicycle Summit?
  • Das Fahrradtour

Regional News: Southeast

  • Georgia on Our Minds (& Florida too!)

Regional News: South Atlantic

  • South East High Speed Rail = Greenway Progress
  • Virginia Routing: Your Input Requested!

Regional News: Mid Atlantic

  • Federal TIGER Grant for Philly: $16 million for ECG!!!
  • ECG Crossing the Meadowlands: Hearing Rescheduled
  • 50-Mile Walk on NJ ECG: Full Steam Ahead

Regional News: New England

  • CT: Fairfield County Meeting - Mark Your Calendar
  • RI: Trestle Trail Update
  • ME: The Merrymeeting Trail

Social Networks:

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

Join the ECGA

Donate to the ECGA

Contact Us

Forward this email to a friend!

National ECGA News

Greetings from ECGA Executive Director, Dennis Markatos-Soriano

2010 Becoming Our Breakout Year

Dear ECGA members,

It's only February, but I'm already getting the distinct feeling that this will be the year that the East Coast Greenway takes the national stage. In some respects, it's already happened through significant federal funding and growing media attention. But we have a ways to go together to bring our vision to the national consciousness.

The East Coast Greenway corridor was a recipient of the largest bike/ped federal stimulus grant announced last week. Our Philadelphia network received $16 million of a $23 million TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grant to connect the currently fragmented spine route greenway through the city. Such significant federal support is a testament to the US Department of Transportation's belief in our vision of connecting cities from Maine to Florida.

The funds will go directly into creating and retaining ~1,000 jobs over the next two years and building infrastructure that will decrease local air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions as well as reduce transportation and health costs in the region for generations to come. A big thank-you goes to our local partners, the Pennsylvania Environmental Council and the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, for submitting this TIGER grant application - yet another story validating the importance of partnerships we maintain with national, state, and local institutions.

On the media side of things, a wonderful feature article on the East Coast Greenway was published in the Harvard Alumni Magazine this month. It is available online here. This is an excellent start, as we aim to get the word out about our growing trail to millions of people throughout the region in the year ahead.

The TIGER grant goes directly into the Philadelphia greenway construction, so we would love to work with you to match the remaining $25,000 in challenge grant opportunities by the end of May. Together, we are building a solid foundation for progress in 2010.

Onwards to a healthy and sustainable America!


ECGA Executive Director Dennis Markatos-Soriano rides off-trail in Florida. Photo by Bob Spiegelman

National Bicycle Summit, March 9-11, Washington DC

Each spring, bicycle advocates gather from around the country (and some from beyond our borders) to meet in our nation's capital to discuss a range of bike advocacy matters. The National Bicycle Summit has become our country's most important assembly for learning about federal legislation impacting our agenda, hints for making improvements locally, and meeting up with changemakers. Appointments are also made with US Senators and Representatives (or their staffs) to tell them about important projects and request their support.

The East Coast Greenway Alliance tends to have a pretty good representation at the Summit, between staff, board members, state committee volunteers, and supporters. Will you be there? If so, please let us know! Contact Eric Weis to get on our list, and you'll get an ECG lapel pin to proudly wear during the Summit.

Das Fahrradtour (that's German for "awesome bike trip")

Engelbert Nagelschmidt and Klaus Giesenkirchen aim to become the first Europeans to complete the entire East Coast Greenway, riding from Key West to Calais, Maine, this spring!

Leaving from the Southernmost Point marker at 9 am on March 25, they will chronicle their trip on Engelbert's website, radelbert.de.

They welcome assistance in the way of overnight accommodations, and pledge to make a 5 Euro ($6.80 US, today) donation to a children's school for each night hosted. They also welcome supportive cyclists to ride short distances with them along the way.

To offer assistance or just to wish them luck, please email Englebert at this address. Bon voyage, gents Gut Reise, Herren!

Engelbert and friend touring Russia, 2007

Regional News: Southeast
Herb Hiller reports:

Savannah to Key West

February has marked advance of trail on the ground in Georgia and of organization in Florida.

Jo Claire Hickson reports for the Coastal Georgia Greenway that Chatham County claims a new mile of trail alongside the Savannah-Ogeechee Canal. Its site through Tom Triplett Park west of Savannah takes walkers and cyclists past rare Civil War Tent Mounts.

Next-south in Bryan County, a three-mile loop runs atop historic rice dikes in Richmond Hill. South below in Liberty County, picnic shelters are getting built that anticipate funding for a recycled bike-ped bridge of 40 to 50 feet that will link two old wooden bridge pilings, now fishing piers, across Riceboro Creek.

Much is happening in rural McIntosh County. Money is newly available to build the first half of the seven-mile Highlander Trail that links the Darien county seat north to the Sapelo Island Visitor Center and the island ferry. Another almost 3-mile-long section will connect Darien south to a popular boat dock and birding site on the Champney River. The section also includes an existing recreational bridge across the Butler River, and comes with $1.67 million for building trail and amenities.

Brunswick in Glynn is seeking two grants to build 2.5 to 3 miles of waterfront trail from the foot of the Sidney Lanier Bridge north to the causeway that leads to St. Simons Island. Glynn was also site of an inaugural late fall Jingle Bells Ride that drew more than 50 cyclists to Jekyll Island trails.

Led by volunteers, southernmost Camden County partnering with Georgia's PATH Foundation, a sister organization of the Coastal Georgia Greenway, paved 3.5 miles of the Greenway between Waverly and White Oak. GDOT is planning an additional six-mile section that includes a separate ped-bike bridge that will cross I-95.

In Florida, 10 advocate leaders for Florida trails responded to our first call to form a Florida Committee for the Greenway Alliance. The 10 include an LAB national board member, a leader in state land conservation, plus downtown, hospitality and government officials who hail from southern Broward (Fort Lauderdale) and Palm Beach counties to northern Jacksonville, Nassau County, and Tampa Bay.

First moves will be to position the Alliance for October launch of the Visit Florida trails website that will newly draw state and national attention to Florida for its leading trails role. American Trails in 2008 awarded Florida charter honors as #1 trails state in America.

The Florida Greenways and Trails Council has unanimously adopted destination trails as a priority of the Office of Greenways and Trails. The move is one in a series advised by the Greenway Alliance to position OGT more directly pertinent to Florida economic development, a chief concern of the legislature in its second year of recession induced need to chop government outlays. Additional moves have included work on the Visit Florida website and a follow up to last November's Greenway Alliance-spurred workshop on trails and economic development. Co-sponsor of that workshop, the East Central Florida Regional Planning Council, is now preparing benchline data for regional trails before launch of the Visit Florida website that will newly track use and related impacts.

Back to Top

Regional News: South Atlantic

South East High Speed Rail Award = Greenways Funding!

Proposed Greenway adjacent to the South East High Speed Rail Corridor receives encouraging news.

On January 28, Federal officials announced the awarding of $620 million towards the development of a high speed rail corridor between Charlotte NC and Richmond VA. A greenway proposed to run adjacent to the rail corridor received indirect support as the greenway from Raleigh NC to Petersburg VA will not be build without completion of the associated rail project. This award is a key step in securing the future of a 114-mile continuous greenway across southern Virginia and Northern NC.

Virginia Routing: Your Opinions Wanted

Working with the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation on an ECG Travel Guide for Virginia, the East Coast Greenway has developed a draft interim travel route. The draft route is mapped and available online.

Please click here to view the map and a detailed description of the route.

If you have comments, concerns or thoughts about this route, please contact Steve Bevington ECGA) and Jennifer Wampler (VA DCR) via this link.

Back to Top

Regional News: Mid-Atlantic

Philly's TIGER Grant

Major portions of the East Coast Greenway in Philadelphia received $16 million for development this past week. This was part of a larger grant ($23 million) awarded by US DOT as part of their TIGER program which is a part of the ARRA stimulus plan. For more information on ECG trail award go here and here.


NJ Meadowlands Opportunity - Hearing Recheduled

An important meeting scheduled on February 17th for ECG to secure bicycle and walking paths on the new Portal Bridge and beyond has been rescheduled to March 24th at the Secaucus Town Hall. We need massive support and turnout to ensure NJ Transit provides access on the new Portal Bridge and approaches to that bridge. Please go here (second bullet on page) for the meeting information including maps and directions. If you can take a minute to write a letter of support, please send it to Laurie Cotter, Deputy County Administrator, 567 Pavonia Ave, Jersey City NJ 07306, or email it to her. In your message, please make sure to reference the East Coast Greenway, Portal Bridge, and safe Meadowlands crossing for cyclists and pedestrians.


Walking the ECG

The 50 mile one day walk along the ECG by member Paul Kizcek on May 23rd is in the advanced planning stages. Walk information is posted at http://nj2ny50.org/. Please join Paul for 1,2,5 or the entire 50 miles if you wish or just come out to support or cheer him on. Paul is also looking to raise money for the ECG. To donate go to his fundraising page.

Back to Top

Regional News: New England

Fairfield County, CT: Save the Date

Please come to the first meeting of the Fairfield County Bike-Ped Alliance!

Wednesday, March 17, from 10 am to noon
South Western Regional Planning Agency
888 Washington Blvd, 3rd Fl
Stamford CT
Directions (by train or road): http://www.swrpa.org/Default.aspx?Directions

Among items on the agenda will be the setting of goals and discussion of projects to focus on.

ECGA co-created this new group to (among other things) help advocate for the Merritt Parkway Trail, which is the key missing trail connection between New York City and New England. We do hope that you can attend. Please send this info on to others who may be interested.

RSVP to ensure that we bring an appropriate number of donuts ;-)
If you'd like to get involved, please sign up for the listserve.

RI: Trestle Trail Update

Long-time ECG supporters will know that the Trestle Trail is the long-planned rail-trail that will link Rhode Island and Connecticut. This 10-mile trail corridor has been under design for so long that perhaps some have completely forgotten about it... but it is funded, and on the construction schedule! According to the Rhode Island Department of Transportation, the eastern 5 miles are going to bid for construction this year, and the western 5 miles will go to bid for construction in 2012. All construction, barring delays, should be complete in 2013.

On the Connecticut side of the border, the railroad corridor continues with the name Moosup Valley State Park Trail. Most of the trail is not in "touring bike condition", but great for hiking and mountain biking. ECGA has been working with agencies for several years as we seek funding to upgrade the trail surface there.

On a related note, an additional 1.6 miles of the Coventry Greenway will be paved this spring & summer - that's due east of the Trestle Trail. The new construction will create a continuous 14.2 miles of paved East Coast Greenway from Cranston, RI (near the Providence border) to central Coventry.

Trestle Trail photos: a long-abandoned telegraph pole (l) and an old stone wall (r) still grace the railroad corridor. Credits: "italiangerry"(pole) and Paul Hoffman (wall)

Maine's Merrymeeting Trail

The Merrymeeting Trail is not a part of the ECG, but we wanted to introduce you to the 32-mile project which has great promise as a route for transportation and recreation in the years to come.

The trail will connect to the ECG at its northern and southern ends, in Gardiner and Topsham. In between, it will travel through Bowdoinham and Richmond as it follows the shore of Merrymeeting Bay, a 20,000 acre tidal estuary renowned for its natural habitat and opportunities for sailing, kayaking, birdwatching and fishing. By joining the ECG at its ends, a wonderful loop trail will be created, ideal for 2- or 3-day trips.

Thus far, planning is in its early stages. The project has received a $20,000 grant from the state to develop a corridor study, and it is currently receiving National Park Service assistance, through the Rivers, Trails, & Conservation Assistance Program. Learn more about the project here.

Back to Top

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