April 2011

In This Issue...

National News

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

Regional News: New England

  • South Coast Randonnée
  • Trails Advance in Mass.
  • New England Bike-Walk Summit II
  • New Leadership in CT
  • Maine: trail and event news

Regional News: Mid Atlantic

  • Upcoming events in NJ & NY
  • Newark and Jersey City cue sheets available!
  • Big Walk Success
  • Cobbs Creek exploratory walk, in Philly

Regional News: South Atlantic

  • Durham Greenways Ride!
  • Tobacco Heritage Trail: new facebook page
  • Cannon Run Greenway: coming soon to Richmond!

Regional News: Southeast

  • Coastal Georgia Greenway in the running for state funds
  • Amelia Island leads the Greenway through Florida
  • ECGA to help Florida celebrate its 500th anniversary!

Social Networks:

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

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

Debbie West: North Carolina Office Manager

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National ECGA News

Greetings from the Director

Your Help Needed: It's Membership Renewal 2011 Time

Dear East Coast Greenway teammates,

Every spring, we ask our members and volunteers to renew their commitment to the East Coast Greenway. The thousands of people who responded last year helped us have one of the best years in our project's history with 100 new miles of designated greenway (over 20% growth). Now, in our quest to maintain momentum into 2011, we need you to contribute to the cause.

In this time of fiscal austerity among local, state, and federal government, we need your investment more than ever. Together, we can develop scores of miles of new greenway this year and next. And we can lay the groundwork with our elected leaders from Maine to Florida for hundreds of miles of new greenway as our economy recovers.

With a $40 individual or $60 family membership contribution, you are helping communities throughout the eastern seaboard get independent of expensive oil. The price of one tank of gas gets you a year full of discounts for our events and satisfaction that you are leading our country's transformation to environmental sustainability, health, and economic recovery.

Please go to our online membership page today to become a 2011 East Coast Greenway Alliance member. Or if you've been a member in the past couple of years, please answer the membership renewal letter we are sending out this week.

Together, We Can Build a Sustainable & Healthy America,

Dennis Markatos-Soriano

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 (9am - 5pm), 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 this Facebook page for details including how to register for this fun and educational ride.

Among expected guests are Governor Malloy, Senator Blumenthal, Congressman Murphy, New Haven Mayor DeStefano, and Simsbury First Selectman Mary Glassman.

Kitty Carter

With ECGA's headquarters moving to North Carolina at the end of the month, we are saying goodbye to our long-time Office Manager/Membership Coordinator/almost everything else, Kitty Carter.

Kitty joined the ECGA in the spring of 2000, when our headquarters was shoehorned into a remodeled loft above a converted garage. She inherited a lousy database, a difficult bookkeeping system, a completely un-automated membership procedure, a mousepad with mystery stains, a computer slightly less powerful than your average "etch-a-sketch", and a hard folding chair. In the years following, Kitty was instrumental in creating the modern East Coast Greenway Alliance: efficient, effective, timely, and professional.

Kitty has also been, in many ways, the heart of the operation. If you called the office, you spoke to her. If you visited, you saw her first. And if you got a letter from us, it was likely composed by her. For her co-workers, Kitty has been a consistent source of advice, warmth, and laughs.

Unfortunately for the ECGA, as the Alliance relocates its headquarters to Durham, Kitty will be staying put in RI (with her husband and nearby daughter and 4 grandchildren), and parting ways with the organization. But for those of us who have worked with her for years, she won't be forgotten any time soon. Kitty: you have our gratitude by the bushel. We miss you already!

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Regional News: New England

South Coast Randonnée

The East Coast Greenway Alliance is excited to present the first-ever tour of the South Coast Regional Pathway, to be held on Sunday, May 8 (Mothers Day). The South Coast Regional Pathway is intended to connect communities from Bourne, MA to Warren, RI, including historic New Bedford and Fall River; this ride will continue to Providence's India Point Park for a small celebration on the waterfront. A bus will bring riders (and their bikes) from Providence to Bourne at 7:30 am. To recoup the cost of the bus, a small fee will be charged: $25, or a reduced rate of just $15 for members of the East Coast Greenway Alliance. (Those not using the bus will not be charged any fees, but must still register.) To become a member of ECGA, click here.

Register for the Randonnée here: http://www.bikereg.com/events/register.asp?eventid=13121, and here's a Facebook page for the event.

The South Coast Regional Pathway could potentially become part of a 250-mile Old Colony Loop, a bike tourism route for SE New England connecting Boston, Worcester, Providence, MA's South Coast, Cape Cod, then back to Boston via ferry from Provincetown! The Massachusetts Committee for the ECG will meet later this spring to (among other things) vote on adopting this alternate ECG routing. All ECG members in Massachusetts who have provided email addresses will be invited to this meeting; if you're unsure of your membership status or just want to be doubly-sure that you'll get that invitation, send an email to Eric to be put on the list.

Mass. Trail Development News

Great news north of Boston! Long-term leases are being signed, tracks and ties are coming up, and plans for surface improvements are moving forward. Earlier this month in Danvers, the Danvers Rail Trail Advisory Committee organized a big (and successful)trail clean-up (with big help from the local Kiwanis), the needed precursor to the next step: laying down and compacting a layer of crushed stone along 4.3 miles of trail. This is part of the Border to Boston Trail.

Closer to Boston, trails are a few steps closer to reality in Saugus and Lynn. The MBTA (regional transit authority) approved 99-year leases with those 2 cities, which will host segments of the Northern Strand Community Trail. The Lynn portion is 1.8 miles long, the Saugus section is 2.4 miles. Malden, another of the small cities creating this trail, voted to take out a bond ($500,000) to create their section of the trail. And construction is underway in the westernmost of the NSCT cities, Everett.

A beautiful day in Danvers! Photo: Kate Day.

New England Bike Walk Summit II

Planning for the 2011 New England Bike-Walk Summit (Friday, October 7) continues, and a great agenda full of compelling panel topics is starting to take form!

We thank our first three official 2011 event sponsors (Fitzgerald & Halliday Inc., The Alliance for Biking & Walking, and Prime Engineering, Inc), for their support. To learn about the benefits of being a New England Summit sponsor, contact the event organizer. It is thanks to our sponsors that we can keep registration fees low: still just $40 for the full day, or just $30 if you're a member of the ECGA.

Connecticut ECG leadership news

For the very first time since 1992, our Connecticut state committee has a new chairman: Mark Paquette. Mark is a member of the ECGA Trail Council, as well as being Executive Director of the Windham (CT) Regional Council of Governments and Adjunct Professor of Sports Management and Facility Design at Eastern Connecticut State University. Mark has also just become the new chairman of the Connecticut Greenways Council.

The outgoing chairman (of both positions), Bill O'Neill, has been active with the East Coast Greenway for nearly 20 years, and has been building trails for even longer. As retired president of Fuss & O'Neill Consulting Engineers, his mark is on parts of the ECG across New England, and as a former member of the ECGA Board of Trustees, his wise counsel has had positive impact throughout the trail. Fortunately, he remains a member of the ECGA Advisory Board.

Mark Paquette (L) and Bill O'Neill (R)

As usual, great news from Maine...

Two items from Vacationland:

1. Yet another section of the Eastern Trail is going out to bid for construction. This is the 4.4 mile section in Saco and Biddeford. Construction is to be completed by November of this year. Kudos to the whole Eastern Trail team!

2. This year's Maine Bike Rally will be on the ECG! From ECGA Trustee Tony Barrett:
"Maine Bike Rally, July 8-10, 2011 -- a weekend of biking in Southern Midcoast Maine and along the East Coast Greenway.

"The 23rd Maine Bike Rally will be taking place in Brunswick, Maine directly on the route of the ECG. Take the Amtrak Downeaster train from Boston and then ride the 30 miles along the ECG route from Portland to the Rally site. Free Tent & RV camping is available at the Rally site, Brunswick High School or you can stay at nearby motels or B&Bs. The three days feature a variety of group & self-guided bike rides along the coast of Maine as well as activities for non-cycling participants. For more information and registration go to: www.mainebikerally.org."

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Regional News: Mid Atlantic

Upcoming Events in NJ & NY

April 16: 12 mile walk starting in New Brunswick NJ, www.nb2mp10.drupalgardens.com
April 17: 32 mile Bike Ride, Newark, contact Ted for more info, ted_semegran@hotmail.com
May 12: Bartow-Pell Mansion Tour & Ride http://mansiontourbike2011.eventbrite.com
May 12: Westchester Bike Summit, www.westchesterbikesummit2011.eventbrite.com
May 14: Manhattan loop bike ride, http://manhattangreenway.eventbrite.com/. The ECGA will also lead riders to the start from Hoboken, NJ, via the ferry.
May 21: 50 mile walk, Metropark to NY Penn Station www.NJ2NY50.org
May 21: Trenton Bike Tour, www.trentoncycling.org

Newark & Jersey City Cue Sheets and maps now available!

Over the past two years we have been working hard to develop an ECG route connecting Newark to Jersey City. NJDOT installed 1.4 miles of new paths between the Hackensack and Passaic Rivers in Kearny last fall, which help fill most of the gap. There is a small portion of area just west of the Passaic River in Newark needing improvement. NJ DOT is actively working on this and the goal is to have this funded and completed in 2012.

While we can't quite safely travel yet between the two cities, we have in the meantime developed routes within Newark and Jersey City. We encourage people to walk or bike these routes, along which ECG signs have been installed. ECG Cue Sheet Coordinator and volunteer, Dan McCrady, has created the cue sheets, and we encourage you to travel within these two great cities and give us feedback on the routes. Jersey City: http://www.greenway.org/pdf/S183.pdf; Newark: http://www.greenway.org/pdf/N185.pdf.

The "Big Walk" was a big success!

On Saturday April 9th, over 60 people participated in the 40-mile walk on the D&R Canal from Trenton to New Brunswick, NJ. Only a few made it the entire 40 miles but almost everyone exceeded their goals and walked further than they ever imagined! We hope you can join us for our next two upcoming walks (see the above events list). We also encourage everyone to join the East Coast Greenway as members. Many people on the walk commented that they thought the ECG was a government or government affiliated agency. Mike Oliva, ECGA's Mid-Atlantic Trail Coordinator, explained to many people during the event that the ECG is a privately funded nonprofit organization which could not survive without individual memberships and donations. We hope you can become part of the team and join us!

Explore future trail in Philadelphia!

Sunday, May 15, 11 am: "The Cobbs Creek Trail Extension - An Exploratory Walk" - Plans are in the works to extend the Cobbs Creek Trail as part of the proposed Valley Forge to Heinz Refuge Trail. The East Coast Greenway utilizes 4 miles of trail in the Heinz Refuge as well as portion of the Cobbs Creek Trail. Join us for an exploratory walk from Haverford Twp to West Philadelphia, led by Bob Thomas, as we see the various possibilities for this portion of the trail, which would travel through Karakung and Cobbs Creek Parks.

For more info and to sign up contact Linde Lauff (215-879-8159, friends@philaparks.org) or click the 'walking tours' tab at www.philaparks.org.

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Regional News: South Atlantic

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 at www.CrossTriangleGreenway.org.


Marketing the Tobacco Heritage Trail

The Tobacco Heritage Trail, which will ultimately comprise a great deal of the ECG route in southside Virginia, is making progress - both on the ground, and in cyberspace. A new Facebook page will allow you to keep up with the advancements. See it here, and check back from time to time for news and photos!


Coming Soon: Richmond's Cannon Run Greenway

City planners in Richmond, VA have given the thumbs-up to creating the Cannon Run Greenway - a trail which will be ideally located to be a segment of the ECG. This trail will be north of the Capitol, running alongside Richmond-Henrico Turnpike.

More here in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

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Regional News: Southeast

Coastal Georgia Greenway in the running for state funds

Savannah county government will be the lead agent for state funding of the Coastal Georgia Greenway, which constitutes the East Coast Greenway through the Peachtree State.

The Chatham County Board of Commissioners has endorsed the proposed 155-mile system of trails between South Carolina and Florida. Funding will depend on mid-August inclusion of the project on a GDOT list that voters will approve or reject one year later.

Funds will come from revenues generated by the Georgia Transportation Investment Act (IT3). The Greenway will call for some $60 million to link Savannah, Richmond Hill, Midway, Riceboro, Darien, Brunswick, Woodbine, Kingsland and St. Marys through Georgia's six coastal counties. All have already endorsed the project. So have the East Coast Greenway Alliance, Savannah Jaycees, the College of Coastal Georgia, and the Jekyll Island Authority.

"We view the Coastal Georgia Greenway as a prime example of a bicycle and pedestrian project with regional significance," says Tom Thomson, Executive Director of the Coastal Region Metropolitan Planning Organization."

"Chatham County continues its leadership role in supporting this project for IT3 funding," says Jo Claire Hickson, Executive Director of the Coastal Georgia Greenway, Inc. "Our Board of Directors has eagerly watched for opportunities to fund the project and IT3 funding is the best opportunity we see during the next ten years greenway."

Amelia Island leads the Greenway through Florida

Update on Amelia Island Trails, including the East Coast Greenway (from a report by AIT leader Phil Scanlan in the Fernandina News Leader, March 30th):
FDOT plans to build an off-road, paved six-mile long, 12-foot wide multi-use path on the east side of SR A1A from the Nassau River bridge to Peters Point. Design is under way and construction is expected to start in mid-2012. FDOT will use federal grant money successfully applied for by AIT. Safe recreation guides the project.

The Timucuan Preserve south along Big Talbot Island already includes two miles of paved off-road trails with another nine miles planned for construction this year and next. Cyclists will be able to connect to these Timucuan Preserve off-road trails from Amelia Island, which should be a major attraction for county residents, tourists and prospective homebuyers.

For maps of what's already in place and planned, click on: http://www.ameliaislandassociation.com/trailmaps.htm

Greenway Alliance to help celebrate Florida's 500th anniversary

Called "smart, innovative and exciting," plans announced by the East Coast Greenway Alliance to feature bicycling and trails as a way to re-discover Florida will keep the Alliance in the forefront of activities that in 2013 celebrate the 500th anniversary of Spain in Florida and of Europe in what we know today as the U.S.A.

That's right. The first Europeans didn't land at Jamestown or Plymouth Rock. It was Juan Ponce de Leon wading ashore at today's Melbourne Beach. And if Ponce arrived by caravel, the quincentennial of his landing will include Florida's re-discovery by cyclists along the route of the East Coast Greenway.

We had the early April pleasure of describing Alliance-led plans at the kickoff for the quincentennial convened by Florida Secretary of State Kurt Browning. About 100 took part, including leadership of chief quincentennial partners: the Florida Humanities Council, Visit Florida, and the España-Florida Foundation 500.

Next steps are to rally national and state cycling interests to the program, including the League of American Bicyclists, Bikes Belong and the Adventure Cycling Association. Also, domestically in Florida, the Florida Bicycle Association and Bike Florida to make sure that arriving cyclists feel the full warmth of a once-in-500-years welcome.

Much more to come. Let me know if you want to get involved.

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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