April 2012

In This Issue...

Greetings from the Director

National News

  • Cabot Tour Starts May 12
  • Last Chance to Register for Week a Year Tour
  • Our Spring/Summer Newsletter is Out


  • National Meeting in Maine May 18th - 19th

ECGA In the News

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

  • Bicycle Coalition of Maine Celebrates 20th Anniversary
  • Coventry Greenway Construction, RI
  • Bike Month and New Bike Sculpture in Simsbury, CT
  • Blackstone River Bikeway Construction, RI

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

  • NY Upcoming Bike Rides and Walks on the ECG
  • NJ's Congressman Holt Walks the Greenway
  • Cobbs Creek Trail Cleanup in Philadelphia
  • Come to Delaware Cabot Tour Event

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

  • Cabot Bike Ride and Event in NC June 2nd

Regional News: Southeast (GA, FL)

  • GA ECG Construction
  • Florida Greenway Webinar May 10th
  • Mayport Ferry Update
  • ECG is Priority in Brevard

Forward this email to a friend!

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

Dennis Markatos-Soriano: Executive Director

Andy Hamilton: Mid-Atlantic Coordinator

Herb Hiller: Southeast Region Consultant

Eric Weis: Trail Program Coordinator

Debbie West: Office Manager / Communications

Join the ECGA

Donate to the ECGA

Contact Us

It's membership renewal time! Thank you to the many members who have already renewed. You can easily renew online here!



Greetings from ECGA Executive Director, Dennis Markatos-Soriano

The Biggest Tour in East Coast Greenway History

Dear East Coast Greenway teammates,

Back in the fall of 2004, seven committed advocates completed the first end-to-end tour of the East Coast Greenway. Those pioneers helped us improve our route and cue sheets as they bicycled from Calais, Maine, to Key West. They paved the way for many other major tours along the route, none as big as the one beginning Saturday May 12th in Miami.

A 2,300-mile tour to Portland, Maine, will be an adventure enjoyed by three ECG members (Myron and Cathy Skott of Georgia and Robert Spiegelman of New Hampshire) and thousands of people who will join them at festivals and sections of the ride in several communities along the greenway.

This Cabot Community Tour, led by our partner Cabot Creamery Cooperative of Vermont and supported by generous donors such as Sarah Hancock of Massachusetts, will help share the good word of the East Coast Greenway to a wider audience throughout the Eastern Seaboard.

See the overall tour website here. And if you are considering joining the ride for a bit, registration and details are available here. This will be the biggest tour in our history, and will help us move the project further toward safety and accessibility for all!

Together, We Are Building a Sustainable & Healthy America.

Dennis Markatos-Soriano

Back to Top

National ECGA News
Cabot Tour Starting May 12th in Miami!

The Cabot Community tour will kick off May 12th in Miami, Florida! Three of our members are through-riding, and lots more folks are joining for portions of the route. You can find more information here about riding with the tour here and how to register- we'll post more details soon about the ride times and logistics.

Check out the Cabot event page for more info about all their exciting events during the tour! After Miami, there will be events in Charleston SC, Durham NC, Fredericksburg VA, Wilmington DE, New York City, Providence RI, and a big finale in Portland ME.

We need volunteers to help out at the events! Please email us at info@greenway.org if you'd like to volunteer at an event near you!

Last Chance to Register for ECG's Second Week a Year Tour!

We still have a few spaces open on our 2012 Week a Year Tour! This week long bicycle tour (August 19-25) will explore the ECG between Portland, Maine and Hartford, Connecticut. The diverse route will go along the coast in Southern Maine and through the cities of Boston, MA and Providence, RI. We'll be riding some newly completed trails on the ECG including the Eastern Trail in ME, Border to Boston Trail in MA, and the Blackstone River Trail in RI.

This will be a self-led tour, and participants can ride at their own pace. We will average 52 miles each day. (There will be a sag wagon to transport luggage and support riders.) Please see here for more information about the tour and how to register.

Want to ride but can't do the whole tour? We welcome ECGA members to join us for a day to ride along the tour route! Please email info@greenway.org for more information on joining up with the tour for a day.

Week a Year Tour Map
Our Spring/Summer Newsletter is Out!

Download our Spring/Summer newsletter and read more about the Week a Year Tour, an innovative project that reused wood from a deck for an ECG bridge, the ECG Founders, and more!

Back to Top

ECG Spotlight - National Meetings in Maine, May 18-19
Join Us at Our National Trail Council Meeting in May!

Twice a year, the ECG Trail Council meets with ECG staff and Trustees in a community along our route to review trail progress and approve new ECG designations. These meetings are a great way to meet others involved in the organization and learn about what goes into getting ECG trail on the ground.

Our upcoming Spring meeting will convene the weekend of May 18th in Portland, Maine. All are invited to join us! The events start on Friday, May 18th with a 31-mile bike ride from Kennebunk (ride info and registration here) and a walk on the Portland Trails that evening. The Trail Council meeting takes place from 9 - 5 on Saturday May 19th, featuring Keynote Speaker Deborah Apps, President of the Trans Canada Trail. (You can read more about the weekend's event here.)

Portland, ME waterfront

Photo by Tony Barrett, ECGA Trail Council

Spring on the Eastern Trail Bike Ride, Friday May 18th, 10:30 AM - 3:30 PM

Join us for this 31-mile bike ride (nearly 20 miles of off-road greenway – including two new bridges!) Meet at 10:30 AM at Bug Light park in South Portland, ME, bus to Kennebunk leaves at 11. The ride begins at noon in Kennebunk, and riders will return to Bug Light Park at around 3:30. Lunch is included. Advanced registration required- space is limited! More info and registration here.

Dinner, Flatbread Restaurant, 5:00 PM – Drinks and food (they have yummy pizza!) available for purchase at delicious Flatbread Restaurant at 72 Commercial Street in Portland.

Guided Walk on Portland Trails, 7:00 PM - Enjoy this free guided walk led by a founding member of Portland Trails. The walk will be held on a lighted section of the Portland Trails.

ECG Trail Council Meeting, Saturday May 19th, 9 AM to 5 PM, Portland Company Complex, 58 Fore St., Portland, ME

We'll gather at 9 AM, with a welcome at 9:30 and Keynote address by Deborah Apps, President/CEO of the Trans Canada Trail at 10. Following that, the Trail Council meeting will convene. The topics covered will include a trail progress report by ECGA Trail Coordinator Eric Weis, and reports on each of the four ECG regions by the regional trail coordinators and state representatives. The ECG designation policy will also be reviewed. You can read a draft agenda for the day's events here (times or order may change slightly).

We hope you can join us in Portland, or at a Trail Council meeting in the future - our next TC meeting will be in Richmond, Virginia in November!

Back to Top

ECGA In the News

We've been getting some great press lately as trail progress is made along different parts of our greenway. Here are some recent media highlights:

ECG completion fosters regional network development in southern Maine

CT DOT reiterates intention to complete the ECG

Jacksonville Times-Union Op-Ed supporting an important regional ferry

Boy Scouts help keep the greenway beautiful in South Carolina

An inspiring story of greenway perseverance in CT

Greenway segment is Rails-to-Trails feature of the month!

Back to Top

Regional News: New England
Happy 20th Anniversary, Bicycle Coalition of Maine!

Bicycle coalition of maine logo

- Article by Shoshana Hoose, Bicycle Coalition of Maine

The Bicycle Coalition of Maine is proud to share our 20th anniversary with the East Coast Greenway Alliance.  It seems fitting, since Maine now has the greenway's longest, continuous off-road trail, the 85-mile Down East Sunrise Trail that extends from just north of Acadia National Park nearly all the way to Canada.

Our coalition began in 1992 with a few, dedicated people sharing a vision of how to make Maine better for biking.  Here are some of our major accomplishments:

  • Actively supporting trail development in Maine, including several sections of the East Coast Greenway.  Maine is second only to Florida in the amount of off-road trail that has been built along the greenway.
  • Helping Maine become the second most bike-friendly state in the U.S., according to the League of American Bicyclists.  We advocated successfully for a state shoulder paving policy, a mandatory helmet law for young cyclists, a requirement that motorists give at least three feet of clearance when passing bicyclists and other laws that are considered among the most progressive in the country.
  • Managing a state Safe Routes to School program that has been cited as a national model.
  • Launching a Local Spokes program in 2011 that trains advocates to work for biking and walking improvements in their hometowns.

John Andrews

John Andrews, former president of the Eastern Trail Alliance, stands on the landmark bridge that carries the trail over the Maine Turnpike. 

The Bicycle Coalition of Maine awarded Andrews the 2011 Harry Faust Leadership Award for his work shepherding the Eastern Trail from an idea to a 21-mile reality in southern Maine.

We hope you'll explore Maine on bike by joining us for the coalition's annual Maine Lobster Ride & Roll in Rockland on July 21.  The ride follows the rocky coast past lighthouses and other scenic attractions.  You'll work up an appetite for the freshly made lobster roll lunch.

Looking ahead to 2013, we are planning our first-ever weeklong ride across Maine.  You'll find updates about BikeMaine and all of the coalition's events plus information about where to ride in Maine at our website: www.bikemaine.org.

Happy 20th Anniversary East Coast Greenway Alliance!

Coventry Greenway Construction, RI
The RIDOT recently advertised for the construction of a 2.7 mile segment of the Coventry Greenway in West Central R.I. This segment is part of a 4.5 mile Town owned multi-use trail that will include an equestrian trail.

Construction elements include hazmat remediation, drainage, grade crossing treatment, guard rails, post and rail fence, three parking facilities, signage and stripping and landscaping. The timeline for construction is projected for May 2012 thru June 2013. Unfortunately, this 2.7 mile segment from Station Street west to Town Farm Road will be closed during the construction period as noted.

This former rail corridor was paved in 1997 and 1998 by the Town and has been enjoyed by statewide residents since then. This was one of the original four segments named to the ECG.

The remaining unimproved nine miles within the Town of Coventry is slated for construction starting in 2013-2014. This will mark the completion of the 25 mile redevelopment of the former Providence, Hartford, Fishkill Rail Line from Providence to the RI/Connecticut border.

Celebrate Bike Month in Simsbury, CT

- By Ann Marie Potter, Bike Walk Simsbury / ECGA Member & Volunteer

Simsbury, CT is celebrating National Bike Month in May by hosting a packed agenda of exciting bicycle rides and activities (most of which are free) for all ages and skill levels, organized by Bike Walk Simsbury. Named in 2010 as the only Bicycle-Friendly Community in Connecticut by the League of American Bicyclists, Simsbury's motto is "Everyone Rides."

There are nearly two dozen free bicycle rides scheduled during May that start or end in Simsbury. Rides are both on-road and along the trail. (More than eight miles of The Farmington Canal Heritage Trail/East Coast Greenway run through Simsbury from the Avon and Canton town lines.) See Simsbury's bike month schedule here.

Kicking off National Bike Month on Tuesday, May 1 at 10 AM at Simsbury Town Hall, Simsbury First Selectman Mary Glassman will read a proclamation and announce Simsbury Town Hall as a cycle center for Simsbury Free Bike, a bike-share program. Glassman also will discuss one-of-a-kind Simsbury bike racks, designed by Simsbury metal-artist Vicente Garcia; new Share-the-Road signs; and sharrows that will be painted along a 14-mile, on-road loop through town.

"We're so proud of Simsbury's bicycle-friendly status," Glassman said. "The trail is a gem that we want to promote and share with cyclists of all ages and abilities."

On May 19th, Simsbury will unveil a beautiful bicycle sculpture by local metal artist Vicente Garcia. The sculpture is three times the size of a bicycle and will be adjacent to the Farmington Canal Trail/East Coast Greenway.

Simsbury bike sculpture Simsbury bike racks

Beautiful Simsbury bike sculpture and bike racks designed by artist Vicente Garcia

Blackstone River Bikeway Construction, RI

A segment of the Blackstone River Bikeway may be closed periodically in 2012 due to overhead bridge work on the Blackstone Viaduct, which carries I-295 over the Blackstone River and the bikeway. The closures are planned to occur from April to June on weekdays only, with the path reopening each afternoon. No weekend or holiday closures are planned. The closures are necessary for the safety of path users during rehabilitation of the the Interstate bridge. For more information, visit: http://www.dot.ri.gov/bikeri/#BlackstoneClosure.

Back to Top

Regional News: Mid Atlantic
Upcoming Rides and Walks on the ECG in New York

There are some great rides and walks on the East Coast Greenway in New York this year. These walks are FREE to ECGA members, and you can join at a special rate if you want to participate! Space is limited, so sign up early for all the guided rides and walks this summer! See here for info and to register for these events:

Sun, May 6, 10 am: Battery Park to125th St. walk
Sat, June 9: Hudson Loop Walk, co-sponsored with the NJ FreeWalkers
Sun, June 10, 9 am: Bronxville to Battery Park ride, Co-sponsored with Bronx River Alliance
Sun, July 15, 9 am: Van Cortlandt Park to Kensico Dam ride, Co-sponsored with Bronx River Alliance
Sun, Aug. 12, 9 am: Manhattan Loop Ride, co-sponsored with Common Ground-NYC and the New Jersey East Coast Greenway Committee
Sun, Oct. 7: Hudson River Loop Ride, 5th annual, co-sponsored with New Jersey Committee for the ECG

New Jersey's Congressman Holt Walks the ECG

On April 7th, US Congressman Rush Holt (the Representative from New Jersey's District 12) and his wife Margaret walked over five miles of the East Coast Greenway during the Great Canal Walk on the D&R Canal. Congressman Holt helped to close the gaps in the ECG in Central New Jersey. We're lucky to have an active leader like him in Washington.

The Great Walk is part of the New Jersey Free Walkers' Cross Jersey Challenge, where participants are encouraged to walk 100 miles of the ECG in long distance walks during the year. In April, the Freewalkers started walking in Trenton and made it to Metropark! Sixty people walked segments on the Big Walk from Trenton to New Brunswick - a resounding success! You can still participate in the Cross Jersey Challenge!

Congressman Holt

US Congressman Holt on the ECG

Cobbs Creek Trail Cleanup, Philadelphia, PA

city year volunteers

On April 4th, the Cobbs Creek Trail in Philadelphia got cleaned up by our partners from City Year of Greater Philadelphia, a non-profit organization that performs service projects and mentors youth. Twenty five City Year volunteers came out and worked a full day to clean up flood debris, invasive species and trash from more than a half mile of the trail. The section they cleaned included the lowest point where flooding occurred in the fall. Thank you, City Year!

Cabot Tour in Delaware

The Cabot Tour will be in Wilmington on June 16th. Mark your calendar and come to the waterfront at Market Street in Wilmington for a major celebration: the Wilmington Family Fun Kick Off event from 10 AM to 2 PM. There is also a bike ride that day from Newark to Wilmington with the through-riders. For more information on the ride or the event contact Andy Hamilton at andy@greenway.org.

Back to Top

Regional News: South Atlantic
Cabot Bike Ride and Event - Raleigh and Durham, NC, June 2nd

We are really looking forward to the Cabot Tour this summer! On Saturday, June 2nd, the tour will ride through the Triangle and head to the Co-Op-A-Fair in Downtown Durham. Everyone is invited to join the tour riders on their bike ride through the Triangle! We have four ride options from 4 to 48 miles - free for ECGA members. Read more here and register for the bike ride here.

Then from 11am to 3pm, join us at the American Tobacco Campus in Downtown Durham for a family-friendly festival with music, a cheese-making presentation, and many other fun activities - see the event Facebook page here. The ECGA and REI are holding a service project at 2 PM cleaning the local greenway segment and its neighboring creek. You can sign up at our booth at the Co-Op-A-Fair, or email info@greenway.org. We hope to see you June 2nd!

Back to Top

Regional News: Southeast
Coastal Georgia Greenway Construction
Stepped up trail construction on the Coastal Georgia Greenway / ECG in GA includes completion of a mile and a half section of Camden County’s Woodbine Nature Trail that will extend this trail to three finished miles. It’s part of the extensive CGG/ECG system meant to connect far southeastern St. Marys at the Florida line with Savannah where a new 1-mile bridge with bike lanes is planned for construction this year and crosses into South Carolina. Also in construction, new sections include summer start of 2.3 miles that connect the Bamboo Farm and Ogeechee River Bridge in Chatham County (metro Savannah), and 2.6 additional miles of the Highlander Trail through McIntosh County.
Growing the ECG in Florida - Free Webinar May 10th

Learn more about the ECG in Florida with this free webinar: Growing the Florida East Coast Greenway for Transportation, Tourism and Health - on May 10th, 10 - 11 AM. If you are in business, tourism, real estate, recreation, health-and-fitness, multi-modal transportation or allied fields, this free one-hour webinar is for you. Register here!

Executive Director Dennis Markatos-Soriano will open the webinar, which will discuss the Greenway as an economy-impacting transportation system. The webinar is presented by the Florida Office of Greenways and Trails and the ECGA.

St. Johns River Ferry Update

Hopes rise for continued operation of the St. Johns River Ferry that the Jacksonville Port Authority has noticed for shutdown the end of September. A special committee of the Jacksonville City Council is working for a city-state solution. Discontinuation of the ferry would eliminate a safe 0.9-mile crossing and require a dangerous 30-mile realignment through the city. Former Trail Council member and landscape architect Steve Davis and Herb Hiller have contributed counsel to the Save-the-Ferry Task Force and the City Council committee.

ECG is High Priority in Brevard

Maps for review and comment will focus the May 23 second meeting of the Brevard Bicycle and Pedestrian Mobility Plan led by Whit Blanton AICP, vice president of Orlando’s Renaissance Planning Group. The East Coast Greenway is the high priority north-south route through 72-mile Brevard. With discontinuation of NASA’s manned flight programs, Brevard – called Florida’s Space Coast – has turned to ecotourism as an economic priority. For the Greenway Alliance, Herb was a keynote speaker at the recent Balancing Nature and Commerce Conference that took place in the county seat of Titusville.

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 (919) 797-0619.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Copyright 2012 East Coast Greenway Alliance