February 2013

In This Issue...

Greetings from the Director

  • Celebrating Our Growing Community

National News

  • National Bike Summit and ECG Reception in DC
  • Registration Now Open for Week a Year Tour 2013
  • ECG Spring Meeting/Summit in Baltimore, April 27


  • New Greenways Videos of ECG in NJ

ECG In the News

  • Great Newspaper Articles and More

Regional News: New England (ME, NH, MA, RI, CT)

  • Providence, RI Route Workshop
  • More Signs Coming to New England
  • Humorous Video of Blazing a Trail in MA

Regional News: Mid Atlantic (NY, NJ, PA, DE, MD, DC)

  • Greenway Vision in Jersey City Closer to Reality
  • Bicycle Plans and Infrastructure Progress in PA, MD
  • MD Outdoor Recreation Public Meeting - March 6th

Regional News: South Atlantic (VA, NC, SC)

  • White Oak Creek Greenway Section Open, Cary NC

Regional News: Southeast (GA, FL)

  • Partnering with Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor
  • Greenways Planned for Volusia County, FL

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Greetings from ECGA Executive Director, Dennis Markatos-Soriano

Celebrating Our Growing Community

Dear East Coast Greenway teammates,

As I met with new and old friends of the East Coast Greenway this past week, I could feel our momentum as we spoke. In Philadelphia, the William Penn Foundation and local partners shared their excitement about new segments and improvements coming online. In New Jersey, a record crowd of NJ Bike & Walk Summit participants filled the hallways of Rutgers University's Bloustein School eager to hear ECG updates. And in New York, a longtime supporter considered giving more to the cause.

You all are helping us make progress every month. We just surpassed 19,000 people in our network of members, volunteers, and e-news/Facebook/Twitter recipients. Many people, like Bernie Wagenblast of NJ who you can read about below, are getting more involved to enhance the East Coast Greenway experience for millions of Americans.

It's a pleasure working with all of you. Our staff looks forward to working more closely with you and reaching many new partners throughout the year ahead.

Together, we are building a sustainable & healthy America,

Dennis Markatos-Soriano

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National ECGA News
Next Week: National Bike Summit and ECGA Reception in DC

We are excited for the upcoming National Bike Summit, March 4th - 7th in DC! The summit is hosted by the League of American Bicyclists, with advocates, industry professionals, agency personnel, and others coming from around the country to participate. You can see the full schedule here, and register here. East Coast Greenway representatives will include staff members Dennis, Eric, and Andy; Board members Elizabeth Brody and Steven Mitchell; Trail Council Secretary Tony Barrett; and New Jersey State Committee leaders Mike and Anne Kruimer.

Are you coming to the Summit next week, or are you in or near DC? Please join us on Tuesday, March 5th, at a happy hour reception from 6:00 to 7:30 PM at Capitol City Brewing Company, 1100 New York Avenue (two blocks from the Renaissance Downtown Hotel). Please RSVP to debbie@greenway.org so we make sure to have enough appetizers and space! We hope you can make it!

2013 Week a Year Tour - Registration Now Open

There are a few spots left on our third Week a Year ECG Bike Tour! This year's ride will start on Sunday, August 18th in Hartford, CT and end on Saturday, August 24th in Philadelphia, PA.

The tour will explore 300 miles of the ECG, going through beautiful landscapes and urban and rural communities in Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Participants need to be comfortable riding in congested urban areas, and be experienced in biking long distances.

Space is limited (we can only accommodate 45 people), and registration is first-come, first-served. To register, please email debbie@greenway.org to request the forms. Below is some information about the tour, and we will provide more details after registration and closer to the tour date.

Week a Year Tour Map

Week a Year Route 2013

Conditions: 307 miles, averaging 42 miles a day, with a few of the days around 60 miles. Some sections are hilly. About 60% of the route will be on roadways, with the rest on greenways. Some of the trails in this region are on compacted stone dust surface, so we recommend hybrid bikes or road bikes with wider tires. (If you prefer, you can take a roadway instead of the 34-mile unpaved D&R Canal.)

Cost: $100 registration fee plus $500 fundraised or donated. We are offering shuttles to the starting location both before and after the tour (limited seating) for an additional $50 per person. We will provide information and tips to help you with fundraising, as well as online fundraising tools.

Please email debbie@greenway.org if you have any questions about the tour or wish to register.

Join Us at the ECG Meeting in Baltimore - April 27

We are really looking forward to our upcoming Spring meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, on April 27th! Prior to the meeting, we'll have several activities including a walk and a happy hour reception on Friday, April 26th. There will also be a bike ride at 7 that evening put on by Bikemore, a local bike advocacy group, part of which will go on the ECG!

Our State of the Trail Summit will be on Saturday, April 27th at the Baltimore World Trade Center, 401 E. Pratt Street. Andy Clarke, President of the League of American Bicyclists, will give the keynote address. He and several other speakers will present in the morning, and our Trail Council meeting will be held in the afternoon.

Please RSVP to debbie@greenway.org if you wish to attend the meeting - all guests must be on an attendee list and bring valid ID to enter the facility. Please see our blog for more information about the events and hotel discounts. We look forward to seeing you in Baltimore!

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ECG In the News

Hartford Courant: Plans for Bloomfield Greenway Moving Forward

Bike Delaware: Proposed New Trail in Delaware Would Take 3 Mi. of ECG off Rt. 9

Fairfield Citizen: Fairfield CT Considers ECG Signs

Post and Courier, Charleston, SC: Crossing the Ashley River in Charleston

Update on Merritt Parkway Trail

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ECG Spotlight - New Greenway Videos in NJ
See the ECG as Never Before!

The ECGA has two new videos highlighting the ECG route in Cranford and Newark, New Jersey. These interesting and informative videos highlight nearby parks and historical and cultural places of interest accessible from the trails.

video newark nj
Watch the video of the ECG from Newark to Jersey City! (1.32 min.)

video cranford
Watch the video of ECG through Cranford, New Jersey! (1.46 min.)

The videos were created to introduce local park users to the ECG. QR codes will be featured at kiosks in Weequahic Park in Newark and Nomahegan Park in Cranford, which park users can access with their smart phones to see the videos. In addition to these videos featuring local trails, there will be regional/statewide and national ECG videos coming soon.

This project was the brainchild of Bernie Wagenblast, of Total Traffic/Clear Channel Media, and Bernie Wagenblast Communications. He has followed our project for a while, and felt inspired to volunteer his time to help promote and enhance the ECG using his unique talents. To create this video series, Bernie researched and wrote the scripts and did the voiceover for the productions. Terra Edenhart-Pepe, the ECGA's Mid-Atlantic outreach contractor, produced and edited the videos. Mid-Atlantic Coordinator Andy Hamilton and the cities of Newark and Cranford provided input and assistance.

Thank you to everyone for your excellent work on the project, and to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation for your financial support!

Look for videos about the ECG and the resources it connects in other parks across the state later this year. We look forward to working with more communities in the region and beyond to make these informative videos a reality in other East Coast Greenway towns!

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Regional News: New England
Providence, RI Routing Workshop
We've received some comments over the last few years about part of our route through Providence, Rhode Island. Issues include tough intersections, steep-angle railroad track crossings, and more. We aim to improve that routing by springtime, and thanks to our friends at bikemap.com, we now have a great online tool allowing anyone with an internet connection to provide suggestions.

Click this link to see the ECG route through Providence, and read the instructions on how to draw in your own suggested route to connect the Cranston Bikepath with the Fox Point neighborhood. Contributors who register with valid email addresses will be invited to a special meeting of the Rhode Island Bicycle Coalition on March 11 at which we will evaluate the suggestions, and then make a decision. Thank you for providing your input!
Sign of the Times in New England

Winter in New England means trail construction stops as snowshoers and cross-country skiers take over the snow-bound trails. But your intrepid ECGA staff are still hard at work with our agency partners to enhance ECG wayfinding so that your springtime outings are easier.

ECGA and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation have recently signed an agreement that will lead to many miles of trail in Massachusetts becoming marked with ECG signs this spring and summer. Our work with the Connecticut Department of Transportation is also moving forward, leading to endorsements of sign installations by the towns of Simsbury, Plainville, Bloomfield, and Avon; several more are expected shortly.

And we are currently in conversation with the Maine Department of Transportation regarding installation of ECG signs across the state in 2014. We'll keep you apprised!

ECG Sign in ME

Volunteer Maggie Warren enjoying the ECG in Hallowell, ME. Look for more signs in New England soon!

A Brief Diversion - Navigating (or Not) a Trail in MA

John Bonner puts a humorous spin on a the roadblocks (trailblocks?) he encounters while travelling a trail near his home in MA. His 8-minute documentary/mockumentary channels equal parts of Sir Richard Attenborough and Monty Python. Check out his video here: http://vimeo.com/59953351

And the good news is, folks in Swampscott are working to move their trail project forward, so this future ECG section will eventually be obstacle-free from the Marblehead border to US Route 1A!

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Regional News: Mid Atlantic
Vision for Greenway Alignment in Jersey City is Closer to Reality

Just picture it - the greenway path rises west off the Hudson River, along the Harsimus Stem Embankment (next to 6th Street) across Jersey City, then swings north a bit to the Bergen Arches corridor...

That "little swing north" is one of the most complex pieces of real estate along the proposed ECG in New Jersey. This past summer and fall the NJ ECG Committee helped to facilitate meetings with Jersey City and CONRAIL to make sure that our long term vision for the Greenway alignment can become a reality. Both Jersey City and CONRAIL are working with us, and have asked us to clarify exactly where we would like the alignment to be!

Our advocacy efforts are really paying off. Major public agencies are now asking us for our input, when years ago we had to introduce the concept of the ECG at every turn. Thanks to excellent support from our stakeholders across New Jersey, the ECG is taking shape!

Bicycle Plans and Infrastructure in Key ECG Areas in PA and MD

Three bicycle plans are now complete that are key to our alignment in Pennsylvania and Maryland. The City of Philadelphia has completed their plan, as has Bucks County, just north of Philadelphia. Cecil County, the northernmost County in Maryland, also has a new plan. All of these areas are moving forward to develop bicycle networks which include the East Coast Greenway.

And PA's Delaware County and Trainer Borough are celebrating the completion of bicycle lanes along the East Coast Greenway route! The entire route of the East Coast Greenway in Trainer now has both bicycle and pedestrian facilities in both directions. Thank you to PennDOT, Trainer, and Delaware County for completing this critical piece of infrastructure for the East Coast Greenway!

Bike lanes in PA
New bike lanes along the ECG in Trailer Borough, PA

MD Outdoor Recreation Public Input Meeting March 6th

Help us advance the East Coast Greenway in Maryland! The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is asking citizens for their input on State outdoor recreation facilities and services throughout Maryland. They are holding a public input meeting on March 6th, 6 to 8 PM at the Howard County Robinson Nature Center, 6692 Cedar Lane, in Columbia, MD.

This is the first step in a statewide effort to enhance existing recreation areas in Maryland, including State parks, forests, wildlife areas and trails. DNR will ask participants to assess the extent to which existing facilities meet the needs of the community and identify future demand and need. This public input will help guide the update of the Maryland Land Preservation and Recreation Plan. You can help us advocate for the East Coast Greenway by attending the meeting and promoting its construction.

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Regional News: South Atlantic
White Oak Creek Greenway Bridge Underpass Complete in Cary, NC

The White Oak Creek Greenway is open under I-540/the Triangle Expressway in Cary! This section re-opened in January after being closed during the freeway construction and features a beautiful bridge and boardwalk surrounded by attractive landscaping. The White Oak Creek Greenway runs from Bond Park in Cary to Green Level Church Road. The Town of Cary is working to connect the White Oak Creek Greenway with the American Tobacco Trail in Cary. We really appreciate the Town of Cary's work and are excited about progress toward a continuous ECG network between Cary and Durham!

White Oak GW

Photo by Paul May, ECGA Member, NC

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Regional News: Southeast
ECGA Partnering with Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor

The ECGA will partner with the congressionally designated Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor to advance that corridor and the East Coast Greenway through northeast Florida and, potentially, along the southern Atlantic coast to Wilmington, North Carolina. Those so far involved include St. Johns County Commissioner Cyndi Stevenson, City of Jacksonville Federal Policy Director Anthony C. Hill, and Freedom Road producer Derek Boyd Hankerson.

New ECG Trails Coming in Volusia County, FL

Later this year, Volusia County will start construction on a section of the East Central Regional Rail-Trail. Before the end of 2014, this will add 3.8 miles to East Coast Greenway spine route between Edgewater and SR 442, including a SR 442 trail bridge. Another 13.5 miles south from SR 442 to the Brevard County line will be built between fall 2014 and winter 2016.

Southeast Region Program Consultant Herb Hiller will speak about developments along the St. Johns River-to-Sea Loop at a March 6 summit of Volusia County trails. The 260-mile Loop includes more than 80 miles of spine route through four counties between St. Augustine and Titusville, and the balance alternate route.

volusia co trail map
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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 donating today.

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 (919) 797-0619.

Copyright 2013 East Coast Greenway Alliance