March 2011


In This Issue...


National News

  • Greetings from the Director
  • ECGA meeting & fun ride: April 29-30, Simsbury CT

Regional News: Southeast

  • National Bicycle Summit rolls Florida forward

Regional News: South Atlantic

  • Charleston's Ashley River crossing
  • Durham Greenways Ride!

Regional News: Mid Atlantic

  • National Bike Summit regional report
  • Mid-Atlantic Events Calendar

Regional News: New England

  • Farmington Canal Heritage Trail fun ride: April 29
  • Mass. South Coast exploratory ride
  • New England Bike-Walk Summit II

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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

East Coast Greenway Goes to Washington

Dear Friends,

The East Coast Greenway team was in full force in Washington, DC, last week at the 2011 National Bike Summit! Our staff and volunteers represented the project from throughout our corridor to meet with allies in the bike advocacy world as well as federal leaders from Congress to the President's Cabinet. We worked hard to show the ECG is a key antidote to rising gas prices and challenging public health issues.

The Summit kicked off on Tuesday evening at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, just blocks from the Capitol and White House. Record attendance of more than 800 people filled the room as Secretary Ray LaHood renewed his support of bicycling as an important part of our nation's transportation system.

The National Bike Summit wasn't just a chance for our team to reach federal leaders, but also to reconnect with our partners throughout the bicycle advocacy world. We had great discussions with the CEO of Trek John Burke, NYCDOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, League of American Bicyclists President Andy Clarke, The Alliance for Biking & Walking President/CEO Jeff Miller, Rails to Trails Conservancy President Keith Laughlin, and many more.


ECG team staff and volunteer reps from NY, RI,
MD, & NC enjoying the Summit reception

It was also an opportunity for the East Coast Greenway team to get together, something that doesn't happen enough due to the 3,000-mile distance we cover. Our Wednesday evening gathering at the usual Pete's Apizza in Columbia Heights filled much of the restaurant with East Coast Greenway supporters (including ECG co-founder Karen Votava of RI and generous donor MJ Veverka of Bethesda) sharing tales from throughout the eastern seaboard with each other.

A key part of the Summit takes place on Thursday, when everyone goes to Capitol Hill to share the importance of investing in safe and accessible bike infrastructure with members of the Senate and House of Representatives. ECG staff and volunteers gave elected leaders an update on the outstanding greenway growth of the past year (over 20% or 100 new miles) and discussed ways we can build on recent progress. It was a crucial chance for us to reconnect with old allies and reach out to newly elected officials to ensure they don't cut cost-effective investments that can help our country free itself from the economic burdens of oil dependence and sedentary lifestyles.


Triangle of NC bike advocates and Congressman
David Price (D-4th) after a great meeting

The Summit finished off with a nice ride to explore DC's new bike facilities from greenways to bike lanes to cycle tracks.


Biking on the excellent new facilities
on Pennsylvania Ave

A big thank-you goes out to ECGA Boardmember Elizabeth Brody of New York City for her contributions that made the ECG team's trip to Washington possible! And thanks to every volunteer and staff-person for taking the time last week to be effective representatives of our project in the nation's capital. Look for continued progress coming out of this gathering and many more in the months and years ahead!

To a Sustainable & Healthy America,

Dennis Markatos-Soriano

(PS: For more details, pictures, audio & video from the National Bike Summit, check out our blog at: http://eastcoastgreenway.wordpress.com/2011/03/15/east-coast-greenway-goes-to-washington/)

Photo by Steve Rosenbaum


ECGA meeting & fun ride: Simsbury, CT, April 29-30

Join the East Coast Greenway Alliance for its semi-annual Trail Council meeting on April 30, at Eno Memorial Hall, 754 Hopmeadow St, Simsbury. On the agenda will be reports of trail progress from Maine to Florida, new trail designations, and policy discussions.

The day before (April 29) there will be a 45-mile bike tour of the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail from New Haven to Simsbury. Fees: free to ECGA members; non-members: $10 to join the ride, + $10 to use the shuttlebus (optional). See the article in the New England regional report further down in this newsletter for details including how to register for this fun and educational ride.

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Regional News: Southeast


National Bicycle Summit rolls Florida forward

by Herb Hiller

I learned how to work fare machines for the Metro. Explored the bi-level food court at Union Station. Like everyone, how could I not feel upset by all the public buses "Not in Service"? I feel best when I know where I am. Awareness comes amply when you walk.

In DC, it was the K Street lobbyist who, while I walked, set me straight.

Everything about him was expensive. The red silk scarf, the tan leather briefcase, the crème-shimmery center-parted hair that commanded notice. His directions were impeccably correct. He told me to walk back toward where a working bus had let me off, take the Red Line one stop, and I'd be at the Hyatt. I asked, "Might I just walk instead?" "Sure," he said, "but it's a mile."

Trains better than cars, I thought to myself; and feet better than trains, arriving for my first National Bicycle Summit with ECGA veterans Dennis Markatos-Soriano, Trail Program Coordinator Eric Weis, and Mid-Atlantic Regional Trail Coordinator Mike Oliva.

We were 800 altogether for the event. Bravo LAB! Bravo Bikes Belong! and the others that organized this learn-work hootenanny.

We came away newly ready to roll for the East Coast Greenway in Florida and beyond.

*Cong. John Mica met with Dennis and me before turning us over to his recently transferred-from-Florida Chief of Staff Wylie Deck and others. We talked about tying our five-county St. Johns River-to-Sea Loop to a Quincentennial pro-bike, pro-trail focus in 2013 that would also connect our route directly to SunRail in DeBary. Cong. Mica represents Florida's 7th Congressional District, where I live. He chairs the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.


L-R: ECGA's Dennis Markatos-Soriano,
Rep. John Mica, ECGA's Herb Hiller

*New FBA Executive Director Tim Bustos Sr. was everywhere present. I'm following up with thoughts about a 2013 ProBike ProWalk ProTrail Florida conference tied to Greenway activities in 2013.

*With Green Mobility Network stalwarts Tom Blazejack and Mary Jane Mark of Mack Cycle and Fitness, South Miami, we talk about the right public positioning for when our Greenway signs go up on the Miami-Dade M-Path.

*I had a chance to meet Cong. Mica a second time at a reception hosted by the Bicycle PAC run by Bikes Belong. I also enjoyed a few minutes with Bikes Belong President Tim Blumenthal that I will also follow up concerning our Florida route.

*Adventure Cycling Association President Jim Sayer introduced me to a packed session on bicycle touring where, though I wasn't on the program, I spoke to the importance of linking bicycles, touring and trails to sustainable local development. I'm proposing a workshop on this that could attract national attendance.

The Bike Summit drew exhibitors for places where cycling is part of urban culture. A stack of brochures from the Washington Area Bicycle Association and others waits my attention. Surely helped by WABA advocacy, lots of cyclists rode everywhere in DC. I'm hoping next year to add myself to the numbers.

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Regional News: South Atlantic


Charleston's Ashley River crossing


Bike & walk advocates in the Charleston area scored a major victory several years ago when the new Cooper River bridge, east of downtown, was built with a first-class bike & ped pathway. However, the Ashley River crossings to the west of town are still a big challenge to safe bicycling and walking. But a movement is afoot to change this.

The Legare Bridge is the more southern of a pair of parallel drawbridges which carry US Rt 17 with 4 lanes eastbound and 3 lanes westbound over the Ashley River. Mayor Joe Riley, recognizing the need to provide better accommodation for non-motorized users, is asking the County of Charleston as well as SCDOT to study conversion of the southernmost lane on the Legare Bridge into a bike & ped-only lane (read more here). This would be low-engineering, relatively low-cost, and low-impact solution, and the ECGA cheers Mayor Riley on.

To express your support, you can send an email to Mayor Riley (email link on this page) and support ECGA's local partner, Charleston Moves, a key player in all local bike and walk advocacy.

 


Durham Greenways Ride!


9:30am-1:30pm Saturday, May 7th: Durham, NC, Greenways Ride - To help kick off Bike Month in Durham, we will host a relax-paced 28-mile ride exploring the Bull City's developing greenway system. Registration is only $5 (or FREE for ECGA 2011 members) - and can be paid after RSVP-ing to info@greenway.org. More info to come at www.CrossTriangleGreenway.org.

 
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Regional News: Mid Atlantic


Report from the National Bike Summit


From ECGA Mid-Atlantic Coordinator Mike Oliva:
On March 10th, ECG advocates met in the offices of many Congressman and Senators in the Mid Atlantic Region. From NY I was able to meet with staff from Congresswomen Nan Hayworth, Congressman Jose Serrano and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. From New Jersey we met with staffers representing Senators Frank Lautenberg & Robert Menendez, Congressman Albio Sires, and Congressman Donald Payne. From PA we met with staff of Mike Fitzpatricks office.

The consensus was that policies which create safer places to bike and walk are a win-win for all citizens and that members on both sides of the aisle could unite to advance these policies which all of their constituents support.

On a semi-related note, Andy Hamilton (ECGA Board) thanked Sen. Bob Casey (PA) recently for his help in securing the big TIGER grant last year for trail projects in Philadelphia by presenting him with a ceramic tile of the ECG logo.

That's Andy on the left, Senator Casey on the right.


Upcoming ECG-related events in NY, NJ, & PA!


    March 20th 12 mile walk-Trenton to Princeton, http://freewalkers.org/events/practice-walk-1-mar-20
      March 26th Bucks County PA ECG sign installation, contact mike@greenway.org for more info
        March 27th 20 mile walk-Princeton to Boundbrook, http://freewalkers.org/events/practice-walk-2-princeton-to
          April 2nd Trenton trail clean up and ECG sign installation: http://www.trentoncycling.org/2011/03/spring-clean-up-saturday-april-2/
            April 9th 40 mile walk-Trenton to New Brunswick, www.TR2NB40.org
              April 16th-12 mile walk-New Brunswick to Metropark, www.nb2mp10.drupalgardens.com
                May 12th Westchester Bike Summit, www.westchesterbikesummit2011.eventbrite.com
                  May 14th Manhattan loop bike ride, http://manhattangreenway.eventbrite.com/
                    May 21st-50 mile walk, Metropark to NY Penn Station www.NJ2NY50.org
                      May 21st Trenton Bike Tour, www.trentoncycling.org
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                      Regional News: New England


                      Farmington Canal Heritage Trail fun ride: April 29

                      On Friday, April 29th the East Coast Greenway Alliance will host a bike ride from New Haven to Simsbury along the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail. The ride supports the East Coast Greenway Alliance Spring meetings, to occur in Simsbury April 30th and May 1st.

                      Most of the ride will be on finished, off-road trail, and in places where it has not yet been built, along well marked roads (cue sheets will be available).

                      Shuttles will be available to a) bring riders from Simsbury to New Haven for the start in the morning and b) bring New Haven area riders and bikes back to the the start in the late afternoon/evening. Complimentary parking in New Haven is generously provided by 360 State Street, a LEED-platinum residence in downtown New Haven. www.360statestreet.com

                      The ride will begin at NOON, in downtown New Haven, at the SW corner of the New Haven Green, at the corner of Chapel and College Streets.

                      Three groups, for slow, medium and fast riders, will be escorted. A sag wagon will be available. Helmets are required.

                      Bike rentals are available at a discount through Devil's Gear Bike Shop in downtown New Haven: http://thedevilsgear.com/

                      Learn a bit more at the event facebook page, and register by emailing Kitty Carter, ECGA's office manager. Fees: free to ECGA members; non-members: $10 to join the ride, + $10 to use the shuttlebus leaving Simsbury at 9:30 am to the start in New Haven, or to return to New Haven from Simsbury at the end of the day.


                      Mass. South Coast exploratory ride

                      ECGA will schedule a Massachusetts State Committee meeting for later this spring (let Eric know if you'd like to be informed once the meeting date/time/location are set), and one of the items on the agenda is the potential re-alignment of the ECG "alternate" route between Boston and Providence. To help with decisionmaking, an exploratory ride of a potential Cape Cod-to-Providence route will be held on Mothers Day, May 7. Starting at the Cape Cod Canal, riders will use completed rail-trail segments in Swansea, Mattapoisett, Fairhaven, and Fall River, and also pass through the historic city of New Bedford as well as Wareham and Somerset before entering RI and using the famed East Bay Bikepath to reach Providence. A bus will bring riders (and their bikes!) back to the start in Bourne, MA that afternoon. A minimal fee ($30) will be charged to recoup the cost of chartering the bus; ECGA members get a discounted fee of $20. Contact Eric if you're interested in joining the ride!


                      New England Bike Walk Summit II

                      Planning for the 2011 New England Bike-Walk Summit (Friday, October 7) is well underway, and great things are on tap! Compelling panel topics are being forged and exciting affiliated events will be held in Providence that weekend. If you have ideas for panel discussions, please send them our way.

                      We thank the first official 2011 event sponsor, Prime Engineering, Inc., for their support. To learn about the benefits of being a New England Summit sponsor, contact the event organizer.


                      West Warwick (RI) Greenway cleanup!

                      West Warwick Friends of the Greenway, an old friend of the ECG, invites you to join them and other community leaders for a trail cleanup day! On Saturday, April 16, at 9 am, volunteers will meet at the American Legion Hall (location). Garbage bags, gloves provided; all volunteers get an Earth Day t-shirt. Coffee, donuts, fruit, pizza and other goodies wil be provided. What better way to celebrate Earth Day!

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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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