May 2011

In This Issue...

National News

  • Greetings from the Director
  • Welcome Debbie!
  • A special recipe

Regional News: New England

  • Merritt Parkway Trail? Big News!
  • ECG ≈ US Bike Route One
  • Survey: April 29 New Haven-to-Simsbury ride
  • ECG events all over New England

Regional News: Mid Atlantic

  • The Big Walk
  • Walkable, Bikeable Delaware
  • Philadelphia streetscaping
  • Baltimore trail construction

Regional News: South Atlantic

  • Durham Greenway Ride
  • Myrtle Beach Improvements

Regional News: Southeast

  • In Florida, relief, designations, events, and a rising trails and cycling hub

Social Networks:

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

Dennis Markatos-Soriano: Executive Director

Herb Hiller: Southeast Region Consultant

Mike Oliva: Mid-Atlantic Regional Trail Coordinator

Eric Weis: Trail Program Coordinator

Debbie West: Office Manager / Marketing

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National ECGA News

Greetings from the Director

Another Breakthrough Moment

Dear East Coast Greenway teammates,

When I heard ECGA Trustee Steve Mitchell's dream of gathering in his hometown of Simsbury, CT, for our spring meeting, I thought it would be nice to achieve half of what he had in mind.

Then on Saturday, April 30th, Steve told the crowd of ECG volunteers packed into Simsbury's Eno Hall, "This weekend has exceeded my wildest dreams!" Needless to say, they exceeded mine as well.

The festivities began on Friday, when over 150 cyclists enjoyed a 47-mile bike ride along the greenway from New Haven to Simsbury under perfect sunny skies and 75 degrees. New Haven Mayor John DeStefano shared supportive words before we rode out along the historic Farmington Canal Heritage Trail. At ride's end, we heard from First Selectman (read Mayor for those not from the area) Mary Glassman and State Representative Linda Schofield who have worked hard to make the Town of Simsbury the first Bike Friendly Community in Connecticut. Then on Saturday, the leaders of CT came out to greet us and share excellent news.

New Haven Mayor DeStefano with 150+ riders on their way to Simsbury, CT on the ECG.

Governor Dan Malloy spoke to our Trail Council meeting, marking the first time we have hosted a Governor at our biannual gatherings. Not only did he show up, but he announced the outstanding news that Connecticut had just pulled together $1.375 million to study building the East Coast Greenway along Merritt Parkway. This is a huge step forward after several years of advocacy - congratulations to the Connecticut team!

Governor Malloy (center) accepting a token of thanks from ECGA Executive Director Dennis Markatos-Soriano (l) and Board member Steve Mitchell (r)

Leaders of the CT Departments of Transportation and Environmental Protection shared progress they are making and the priority they are giving to ECG completion. Then, unannounced, the Speaker of the CT House Christopher Donovan showed up to give his support!

The weekend's success was a breakthrough made possible by your volunteerism and support. Our growing team (we just passed 11,000 e-newsletter recipients and supporters) is making stronger and stronger waves in every region of our project.

Enjoy the good news throughout this newsletter, and tune in next month for details on our amazing new headquarters in Durham, North Carolina!

Together, We Can Build a Sustainable & Healthy America,

Dennis Markatos-Soriano

PS: A big thank you to the hundreds of people who responded quickly to our spring renewal mailing. If you haven't yet renewed, please send your envelope in or go to our online membership page today to become a 2011 East Coast Greenway Alliance member. You are moving our project forward!

Photo by Steve Rosenbaum

Welcome Debbie!

We are delighted to introduce our newest staff member, Debbie West (Office Manager/Communications)! Debbie grew up enjoying what is now the Mount Vernon Trail section of the East Coast Greenway in Alexandria, Virginia, and loves that she gets to live and work near the American Tobacco Trail section in Durham, North Carolina. She joined the ECGA in April after moving to North Carolina to be closer to family. Having lived in Portland, Oregon for 11 years, Debbie believes that creativity and bike fun can and will change the world. She is also an artist who makes letterpress printed cards of bikes, bigfoot, and other interesting creatures she would like to meet. Debbie loves biking, hiking, camping, and doing art inspired by her adventures, and she looks forward to seeing a lot more of the East Coast via the Greenway.

A Special Recipe

For the first time ever, a recipe in ECG News! Our friend and colleague, Sandy Fry of CT's Capitol Region Council of Governments, created an energy bar to honor the ECG! Download the recipe here.

We challenge the rest of our readers to top this recipe. Overnight your baked goods to our new Durham office! A free ECG cap (and a shout-out here) to anyone who can top Sandy's creation. Our judgments are final. Not for nothing, but we love chocolate.

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Regional News: New England

Merritt Parkway Trail advances!

At the most recent ECGA Trail Council meeting (Simsbury, CT on April 30), our special guest Governor Dan Malloy made a wonderful announcement: the Connecticut Department of Transportation had just been awarded a $1.1 million federal Scenic Byways grant to conduct a feasibility study, including public outreach, conceptual design, and environmental documentaiton, for the Merritt Parkway Trail. This will be matched by $275,000 in state funds.

As many people know, the Merritt Parkway was initially designed to have a bridle path within the extra-wide right-of-way. However, that path was never built. Now, more than 70 years after the Merritt opened for automobile traffic, Connecticut is taking steps toward completing the original vision for the facility, including accommodation for non-motorized travelers.

Governor Malloy, while mayor of Stamford, CT, was one of the trail's leading proponents. We thank him and the team at ConnDOT who are making this happen.

ECG ≈ US Bike Route One

In an exciting step forward for bicycing in the United States, AASHTO, the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials, has created new U.S. Bicycle Routes for the first time in about thirty years! Alaska, Michigan, Maine and New Hampshire all have had their applications approved; in Maine and New Hampshire, the new U.S. Bike Route One they've created is co-located with the East Coast Greenway (with the exception of parts of the route in Maine's Washington and Hancock Counties).

Why has the East Coast Greenway Alliance been promoting and helping with this effort? Adding this new federal designation to the route will bring added attention to the ECG, and possibly grease the skids for bringing new construction funds to trail projects that are critical to the ECG. As more ECG-related US Bike Route System news is generated, we will share it with you here. Special thanks go to our friends at Maine DOT and NHDOT, with kudos to the Adventure Cycling Association which is facilitating the revival of the National Bike Route System.

Your opinions sought: New Haven to Simsbury Ride, April 30

Were you among the masses that biked from the New Haven Green to Simsbury, CT, on April 30? If so, we seek your input. These handful of questions will help ECGA organize and conduct future events. Link to survey is here. Thank you! And a big thank-you to Jim Cassidy of the Plainville Greenway Alliance for creating these questions.

A Surplus of Great ECG Events!

1. New Hampshire:
Friends of the Seabrook (NH) Rail-Trail is holding a bicycle swap meet on Memorial Day (Monday, May 30) to raise funds and attention for their section of the New Hampshire Seacoast Greenway, which is the ECG in New Hampshire. As part of the event, there will be a one-hour group bike ride on the "raw" rail-trail in town - mountain bikes or cyclocross bikes are recommended! If you'd like to learn more, visit the group's website.

2. Massachusetts:
Help celebrate the first birthday of the Newburyport, MA Clipper City Rail Trail on Sunday, May 22 from 1 to 4 pm. Trailside you'll find food, music, and art, along with fun activities like bike rides and a kids cake decorating competition. Free parking at the MNTA Station and at Cushing Park. For more informaiton, call 978-463-3545 or write to

3. Maine:
Mark your calendars now! The 23rd annual Maine Bike Rally (July 8-10) will be in Brunswick this year, and once again will use the ECG for some of its routing. This is annually one of the best bike festivals in the US, so don't miss it!

4. Massachusetts (again):
From our partners north of Boston, Bike to the Sea (developing the Northern Strand Community Trail):

The 19th annual Bike to the Sea Day ride will be held on Sunday, June 12, 2011 beginning at 9 am. Meet at the Dockside Restaurant, 229 Centre St. in Malden.

A 10 mile family ride will reach Vitale Park in Saugus and an 18 mile adult ride will reach Nahant Beach before returning to Malden (distances are round-trip). Children must be 8 or over, under 16 accompanied by an adult. Helmets must be worn by all. The $25 family of four fee and the $15 individual rider fee also covers T-shirts, pizza and door prizes after the ride back at the Dockside.
Pre-register here or call 781-397-6893.

5. Connecticut:
Hop River Rail-Trail Ride, Saturday June 4, 2011 from 1 to 2:30 pm. Ride will start and end at Bolton Commuter Parking Lot @ Junction of Rte 6, 44 and 384. Ride is approximately 14 miles round trip on the Hop River State Park Trail (East Coast Greenway segment) to the Rte 316 junction and back. Wider tires (35 mm or more) are recommended as the trail has a stone dust (unpaved) surface. Bring water and helmet. Rain or shine! The ride will be led by ECGA CT Committee chairman, Mark Paquette. For more information, contact Mark at or 860-933-5623.

Meet at the Big Red X.

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Regional News: Mid Atlantic

NJ: The Big Walk

The second annual “THE BIG WALK” is coming this Saturday, May 21. This 50-mile walk along the ECG from Metropark NJ to NY Penn Station is the culmination of the 2011 100-mile-long Cross-Jersey Walking Challenge organized by our partner, FreeWalkers. For info and to register (free):

Walkable, Bikeable Delaware

From our friends at Bike Delaware:

Following up on a unanimous vote by the Delaware Senate just two days earlier, the Delaware House also voted unanimously on May 12 to approve Senate Concurrent Resolution 13, directing the Delaware Department of Transportation "to create multi-use paths for pedestrian and bicycle user travel within and between cities and towns in Delaware on independent right-of- way outside of the right-of-way of existing roadways."

Full details, including resolution text, can be found here.

This will really help complete the ECG in Delaware. Thanks to all who worked on this legislation!

Philadelphia streetscaping

In Philadelphia, the ECG uses Spring Garden Street to cross the city from the Delaware River to the Schuylkill River. Our partners, the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, have an RFP out to make this the most bike friendly street in the City of Philadelphia. This will be a great addition to the East Coast Greenway and will connect the Philadelphia Art Museum to the Delaware waterfront attractions.

Baltimore: two items

Item 1:
Jones Falls Trail progress! Phase 2 of the Jones Falls Trail, a key component of the ECG through Baltimore, is on track again. This phase had been stalled at 95% design for well over a year at the State Highway Administration over ADA improvements to nearby intersections. Impatient local bike activists finally applied some political pressure through the state legislature and broke the logjam. As a result, the project was advertised, a contract has been awarded, and construction will start this summer with completion in about a year.

Phase 2 will connect the existing phases 1 and 3 of the Jones Falls Trail with the Gwynns Falls Trail in downtown Baltimore. It will be the highest visibility part of the trail in the city, running from the Visitors' Center, wrapping around the Inner Harbor, and continuing up the Fallsway, past the city's Farmers' Market, to Penn Station (Amtrak), where it will meet the existing portions of the Jones Falls Trail. When this segment is complete, ECG users will have about ten miles of ADA-compliant class-one trail traversing the heart of Baltimore.

Item 2:
Tour dem Parks, Hon! The 8th annual Tour dem Parks ride will be held Sunday, June 12, 2011, featuring the trails and parks of Baltimore and the surrounding area, including several segments of the ECG. Choose from 12, 25, 35, or 65 miles. For details, go to

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Regional News: South Atlantic

Durham Greenway Ride Recap

On May 7th, over 100 cyclists enjoyed a 28-mile ride of the greenways in Durham, North Carolina. U.S. Congressman David Price, a long-time supporter of greenways, and Dale McKeel, Durham's bicycle/pedestrian coordinator, kicked off the ride with a mix of celebration of recent progress and a challenge for us all to step up our advocacy in today's challenging fiscal climate.

The weather was perfect, and both experienced and newer riders enjoyed the relaxed-paced ride. Dave Connelly, a long-time ECGA volunteer and NC trail council member, led the ride past Durham landmarks including the Durham Bulls' baseball stadium, the farmer's market, and several beautiful parks. The route also explored the newly completed Third Fork Greenway and came by the new ECGA office for a rest stop and tour. (We love being so close to the greenway!)

Thank you to our ride sponsors and volunteers: the American Tobacco Campus, Big Frog T-shirts, Burt's Bees, Davis Wealth Management, and the Triangle Bike Commuter Initiative. Bike mechanic Adrian Fletcher of Seven Star Cycles kept everyone rolling during the ride, and Clean Energy Durham supported our first rest stop. Jerry and Cathy Markatos, Grier Campbell, and Ken Kaye provided photography, snacks, and ride support, respectively!

We look forward to our next Triangle ride in the Fall!

Riders approach downtown Durham on the American Tobacco Trail. Photo: Jerry Markatos


Myrtle Beach trail improvements

Jack Walker, director of the Myrtle Beach Planning Department, reports improvements to the city's greenway system, and thus to the East Coast Greenway:

1. The Harrelson Boulevard trail extension adjacent to Myrtle Beach International Airport is progressing rapidly and that segment should be open for use in December.

2. New natural resource interpretive signage has been fabricated for the Perrin's Path segment and will be installed in June.

3. Seventeen new Little Gem Magnolias have been purchased by the Perrin's Path Committee for that segment and will be planted in June.

The ECGA thanks Jack and the City of Myrtle Beach for their commitment to greenways and the ECG!

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Regional News: Southeast

In Florida, relief, designations, events, and a rising trails and cycling hub
by Herb Hiller

State trail advocates feel relieved, if not precisely jubilant, that in a legislative session that saw demoralizing cuts to essential services, notably including education and health care, Florida's Office of Greenways and Trails came through with the heart of the office intact. Longtime trails leader Jim Wood continues to lead the team that now becomes a bureau of the Division of Recreation and Parks with most of its positions, about 80 percent, kept in place. Considering that early in the session talk was of reducing the staff to four and those completely merged with Parks, the outcome is worth thinking about positively. I'll report further when the fallout clears.

* * * * *

Mid-spring meeting of the Trail Council in Simsbury, Connecticut recommended designation of 9.85 additional miles in Florida. The Florida sections divide among 1.75 miles in Martin County, 1.5 miles in Palm Beach County, and 6.6 additional miles of the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail. Martin's portion now runs from the St. Lucie County line south to the north side of Stuart, the county seat; Palm Beach's portion, the first sections of the Jupiter Riverwalk. Alliance trustees are expected to confirm the designations at its next meeting.

* * * * *

Starting this fall, the Greenway Alliance will site three successive years of events in Florida that will advance the entire Greenway.

First will be mid-October meetings of the Trail Council and board, the Trail Council Oct. 22 in Stuart and the board the 23rd in Jupiter. This will mark the first time that these meetings take place in closely proximate towns and the second successive set of meetings outside metro areas. Formalities in each town will complete the process for each county's newly designated sections.

The second and third events involve the Greenway route entirely.

The second will take place in spring 2012 when Cabot Creamery, the Vermont-based co-op that produces world-famous cheddar cheese, will join the Greenway Alliance in hosting a ride from Miami to Maine. Details of course to come.

The third event takes place one year later when, as previously announced, the East Coast Greenway Alliance and partners promote the re-discovery of Florida by bicycle 500 years after its first discovery by a Spanish fleet in 1513.

* * * * *

DeLand is becoming a notable Florida cycling and trails city. In April this year the Florida Bicycle Association relocated its headquarters from near Gainesville to the Volusia County seat that for more than a year has been Florida home to the Greenway Alliance. Both organizations lately helped Stetson University introduce the Complete Streets concept to the city. Additionally, in May for the first time the Florida Greenway and Trails Council convened its board in the city, where the DeLand Area Chamber of Commerce also appointed yours truly chairman of a new bicycling and trails committee.

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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

~ 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 2011 East Coast Greenway Alliance