April 2010

In This Issue...

National News

  • Greetings from Executive Director Dennis Markatos-Soriano
  • Earth Day is every day, but especially April 22!
  • The ECG is on Flickr
  • ECGA Trail Council meeting: Newark, NJ, May 1

Regional News: Southeast

  • Florida's 1% Solution

Regional News: South Atlantic

  • Ride the Virginia Capital Trail

Regional News: Mid Atlantic

  • Philly's TIGER grant
  • NJ's Portal Bridge
  • The Big Walk
  • Kinetic Sculpture Derby

Regional News: New England

  • More Farmington Canal Trail News
  • Rails & Ties Coming Up in Danvers, Mass.

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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

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National ECGA News

Greetings from ECGA Executive Director, Dennis Markatos-Soriano

A Turning Point for Our Economy and for the East Coast Greenway

Dear ECGA members,

As America goes, so goes the East Coast Greenway. Thus it is extremely exciting to see the economic recovery beginning to take shape. March was marked by the most job creation in three years and the Dow passed 11,000 again. Of course that doesn't mean there isn't a lot of pain out there with almost 10% unemployment and weak tax revenues forcing cuts in parks and other important programs. But the economy appears to be stabilizing in a way that will help tens of millions of people around the country and beyond feel more secure as we plan for the future. Our nation's recovery will help our project immensely.

And to turn the earlier phrase around: as the East Coast Greenway goes, so goes America. With the price of gasoline rising toward recent highs of $3 per gallon on higher demand for oil in Asia and the Middle East, our economy could be knocked back into recession if we don't change our transportation system. We need the East Coast Greenway (ECG) to be a safe and accessible route for daily commutes and travel as a way to hedge against higher transportation costs. As we establish the ECG as a corridor that everyone can enjoy, it will help to foster the Eisenhower 2.0 of green, low-cost transport that we all need. Together, we will establish the model to then help spread urban trail networks that link every major city in our country and beyond.

You are empowering our progress, as contributing members. In fact, our membership drive has surpassed our expectations during its first few weeks. Please join the hundreds of individuals that have responded so far by sending in a donation today or spreading the word to others of this opportunity to help lead the green transportation revolution. Donations can be mailed or contributed online here.

Secretary LaHood is behind us. We just need to keep our advocacy up so that every East Coast planner prioritizes the completion of the ECG during this turning point for our country and our trail.

Onwards to a healthy and sustainable America!


Eastern Trail Alliance President John Andrews (l) and ECGA Executive Director Dennis Markatos-Soriano on the Eastern Trail, Scarborough, Maine. Photo by Tony Barrett

Earth Day

For many, Earth Day is every day, and for those people, living sustainably is their regular routine. But for most of us, April 22 is a special day for acknowledging our impact on the planet. The East Coast Greenway Alliance invites you to celebrate Earth Day - and every day - by commuting to work or going for a recreational walk or ride on the ECG. See you on the trail!

ECG on Flickr

There is no better way to promote the East Coast Greenway than through pictures. Pictures make the ECG real. People can see the variety and diversity it offers in a way that narratives or maps cannot communicate. The ECG just recently started up a FLICKR site where anyone can post and view photos of the East Coast Greenway. The site is getting pretty active and has over 1000 pictures already! There is a separate collection for each state. Please post your photos of the ECG here.

Please email if you'd like the simple directions on how to post photos. Thank you for contributing to the excellent photos which show our amazing network of trails and the variety of user groups who use them.

ECGA Trail Council meeting

Our spring Trail Council meeting will be on May 1, from 9 am to 4 pm, in Newark, NJ. We will meet on the Newark campus of Rutgers University, in rm 213 of Engelhard Hall, at 190 University Ave.

Please email to let us know if you're coming. Agenda items include new trail designations, regional trail reports, and reports on ECG wayfinding.

Regional News: Southeast
Herb Hiller reports:

Florida's 1% Solution

Call it the 1% solution.

A full one percent of the entire Greenway - 30 miles out of 3,000 - likely to be approved May 1st for designation by the Greenway Alliance board.

That's the expectation that also hides a more subtle confidence.

Direct bravos for the one percent to Miami-Dade County's Green Mobility Network, which has step by step shepherded through the lengthy approval process for this route that extends beneath and alongside the commuter transportation system between the Miami River and the city of Homestead.

The paved and off-road trail connects Florida's largest downtown with access to the Florida Keys and to Everglades National Park.

Yet the extensive Miami-Dade designation at the same time overshadows the otherwise seamless overlapping that endlessly drives trail work between the push for policy change and the multi-interest harnessing - the pull - to put trail miles in place.

For while the designation makes news, behind the scenes the drive to align public policy with trail building more quietly goes on. Happily, not without results.

The start of 2010 has so far seen informal engagement by passenger rail advocates with the Greenway Alliance for multi-modal systems that include trails with rails and also an invitation to engage by the central Florida chapter of the League of Women Voters, and a door newly opening with The Nature Conservancy. Thanks also to leadership by Ken Bryan, who heads the Florida field office of Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, the Alliance is interacting with a newly forming partnership council announced by the Florida Department of Transportation that includes state agencies responsible for health, energy and related priorities and the advocacy community for cycling, walking and trails.

Among these alignments with policy objectives has been our own Greenway Alliance work that earlier this year also led to adoption by the Office of Greenways and Trails of a new priority for longer or so-called destination trails.

We see one percent solutions stretching into Florida's future.

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Regional News: South Atlantic

Ride the Virginia Capital Trail

The Virginia Capital Trail, a project in development, connects Virginia's current capital (Richmond) with its colonial capital (Williamsburg). It is also a very important part of the ECG's Historic Coastal Route between Richmond to Wilmington, NC.

The annual "Cap2Cap" ride will be on Saturday, May 8. Four different rides are offered: 15 miles, 25, 50, and 100 miles. Learn more about this terrific event here.

Cycling on the Virginia Capital Trail in Charles City County, VA. Photo by Steve Bevington.
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Regional News: Mid-Atlantic

Philly's TIGER grant

As noted in the last e-newsletter, the Philadelphia region was awarded $23 million in USDOT TIGER funds to build 10 segments of the regional trail system. This success is thanks to many partners who worked hard, with a laser-like focus on getting the application right, including the Pennsylvania Environmental Council (Spencer Finch, Jeffrey Knowles, and Patrick Starr), and the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia (Sarah Clark Stuart, John Boyle and all of their internal supporters). Thank you all very much.

Of the 10 projects funded, 4 are ECG segments. One segment is on Philadelphia's north Delaware riverfront; two extend the Schuylkill River Trail south of its current end on Locust St in Center City Philadelphia (including a striking new "Boardwalk over the Schuylkill River", connecting Locust St to South St); and one connects the Schuylkill with the Cobbs Creek Trail in Southwest Philadelphia.

Once completed, the ECG in PA will have at least 58 discrete segments integrated seamlessly with a total length of 67 miles. These TIGER-funded projects, and other previously-funded segments, will bring the completed ECG mileage in PA close to the 40% mark by 2012.

For more information, go here and here.

Runners on the Schuylkill, near downtown Philadelphia. Photo by Tony Barrett.


NJ's Portal Bridge

Thanks to everyone for calling your Congressman and Senators and sending in letters of support for bike/ped access to the Portal Bridge! Congressman Rothman and Congressman Sires have sent in letters of support as has the Mayor of Kearney Alberto Santos. But we still need your support! Please tell your friends to send in letters and to call their Senators. Senators Menendez and Lautenberg still have not sent in a letter of support. Go here to download a sample letter, which you can ask the Senators to send to USDOT. Lautenberg's office: contact David Garten, 202-224-3224 and Menendez's office: contact Jorge Madrid, 202-224-3603.

50 Mile Walk

The "BIG WALK" is getting near! Don't miss out and sign up for this great event today here.

"The Big Walk", or NJ2NY50, is a one-day distance walk that will occur on Sunday, May 23, 2010, along the East Coast Greenway starting in Metropark Station, Iselin, NJ and ending at Penn Station, New York City. The objective of the event is to walk 50 miles at a moderate pace through various communities and commercial areas in our metropolitan area. Participants can choose to walk any distance up to 50 miles and set their own goals, while walking with the group. Online registration is currently open and there is no charge for participating.

This is a joint effort of individuals and pro-pedestrian organizations to build awareness of the East Coast Greenway, health and fitness, and alternative transportation options. For your convenience, join with the group at various meeting points along the trail that are in proximity to rail and bus lines. Adventure to places you probably have not seen up close. Join other walkers and advocates of pedestrian rights in building better communities. Be part of the movement.



On May 22nd there will be a "Kinetic Sculpture Derby" in the Kensington section of Philadelphia. A mixture of family carnival atmosphere and "crazy inventor" resourcefulness, the Derby is a parade of bicycle-powered structures - and is a lot of fun! The East Coast Greenway will have a Kinetic Sculpture in the derby, which is under construction as you read this. Last year there were over 6,000 people in attendance at the derby. Hope to see you there! More info here.
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Regional News: New England

More Farmington Trail Coming!

The Town of Southington, CT has announced that it will spend $130,000 to buy a half-acre parcel and building (a former RR freight station) that will be needed to complete the town's section of the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail. The site will provide parking and possibly a rest stop for trail users.

Work is underway to extend the trail southward to the Cheshire border. Cheshire has built 3 miles of trail, with 5 miles remaining to reach the Southington line.

Rails & Ties Coming Up in Danvers

Danvers, Mass. is the southernmost town on the Border-to-Boston Trail (which, curiously, does not extend to Boston). The pace of trail development there has lately been dizzying. 4.3 miles of trail will be in service soon, thanks to the town, tireless advocate Ingrid Barry, and a Utah-based salvage company removing the tracks and ties at no cost to the town. Learn more here.

As mentioned, this trail is part of the larger Border-to-Boston (B2B) trail project, which has segments complete in Salisbury, Newburyport, and Topsfield, with more coming soon. More on the B2B here.

Rails coming up in Danvers. Photo by Elizabeth Rankin.
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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 2010 East Coast Greenway Alliance