July 2011

In This Issue...

National News
  • Greetings from the Director
  • TIGER, Round 3
  • Take Action to Protect Federal Bike / Ped Funding

Member Spotlight

  • Meet NJ Freewalker Paul Kiczek

Regional News: New England

  • Maine Lighthouse Ride
  • Improved Connection in Little Rhody
  • Alternate Route Proposed in Massachusetts

Regional News: Mid Atlantic

  • Another Link in NYC
  • ECG Signs Across Delaware
  • Conference in Philly

Regional News: South Atlantic

  • The Tobacco Heritage Trail is Growing!

Regional News: Southeast

  • Georgia Trail Numbers are In
  • Florida Connections

Social Networks:

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

Dennis Markatos-Soriano: Executive Director

Herb Hiller: Southeast Region Consultant

Eric Weis: Trail Program Coordinator

Debbie West: Office Manager / Communications

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National ECGA News

Greetings from ECGA Executive Director, Dennis Markatos-Soriano

Documenting an Amazing Year of Greenway Progress

Dear East Coast Greenway teammates,

Our project moves forward every year. But last year was historic. You can get all the details in our State of the Trail Report 2010 available on our website here (4.6 MB pdf download).

The report gives details of greenway progress on a region-by-region basis, listing each new segment we designated in the past year. It shares an update on new trail markers installed to help people enjoy the route more conveniently. And the report posts many other top accomplishments from the year.

Thanks to generous donors, dues-paying members, and a focus on efficient operations, we carry a surplus from 2010 that drives further greenway progress. Our financial health is allowing the East Coast Greenway Alliance to make strategic investments of time and focus to move the project forward. See details in our 2010 Annual Report here (2.1 MB pdf download).

The unrelenting heat across most of the US is another reminder that our country and the world need an East Coast Greenway that is safe and accessible to all. Greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles are almost a third of total emissions and are some of the hardest to cut. Greenways like ours are crucial to empower a switch to clean transportation, so we must redouble our effort.

Together, We Can Build a Sustainable & Healthy America,

Photo by Steve Rosenbaum

TIGER, round 3

ECG-aligned projects won funding in rounds one and two of this highly competitive federal grant series, funded through economic recovery funds. And now that we know that bicycle infrastructure generates more jobs than highway projects, we can feel even better about these awards!

In the first round, Philadelphia won over $20 million, most of which is going to components of the ECG in the city. In TIGER 2, funds were awarded to reconstruct historic Memorial Bridge, which is (among other things) the ECG crossing between Portsmouth, NH and Kittery, Maine. Please follow this link to learn more about TIGER 3. And if you'd like a support letter from the ECGA to augment your application, please let us know!

Take Action to Protect Federal Bicycle and Pedestrian Funding

Key leaders in congress have threatened to cut off federal funding for bicycling and walking programs - including Transportation Enhancements, Safe Routes to School and Recreational Trails Programs. Contact your Senators and Representative today, and tell them to support funding for these important programs! The League of American Bicyclists has great information and an e-letter that you can send to your congresspeople on their website.

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Member Spotlight - NJ Freewalker Paul Kiczek

NJ Freewalkers Walk 100 miles of ECG in NJ
New Jersey resident Paul Kiczek challenged himself to walk 50 miles (in one stretch) in 2010 to fulfill a goal started when he was a teenager in the 1960’s. Back then, President Kennedy called for citizens to walk 50 miles in their towns, to promote physical fitness and community awareness. Paul always wanted to complete that challenge, and has now gone well beyond it by walking 100 miles in 2011 and involving his community and state in the process.

In preparing for these walks, Paul found out about the East Coast Greenway, which provided him with a beautiful and safe trail to walk increasingly longer distances. He joined the ECGA right away. Paul started a walking group to provide others with the opportunity to enhance their physical fitness. The Freewalkers now have over 300 members, and they have done a number of walking events, including training walks and the 100-mile Cross-Jersey Walking Challenge. Their walks are informal and relaxed paced, and members can log their miles on the website to keep track of them. Paul and several othes people (and one adorable dog, Abby) have already walked 100-miles this year!

The Cross-Jersey Challenge was a series of three walks that went along the entire East Coast Greenway in New Jersey. The Great Canal Walk was 40 miles, from Trenton to New Brunswick, along the scenic D&R Canal. The “Tween” walk was 12 miles from New Brunswick to Metropark Train Station. The final Big Walk was 50 miles from Metropark to New York City. About 160 people participated in these events, which raised over $900 for the ECGA. People of all ages from across the state participated in the walks, including seven year old Mackenzie (granddaughter of NJ Trail Council Co-Chair Mike Krumier), who walked more than 25 miles!

Freewalkers in Cranford
Freewalkers celebrate in Cranford, NJ

Find out more about the Freewalkers at www.freewalkers.org, and log your miles walked on the ECG in NJ at www.crossjerseywalk.org. Participants have until the end of the year to complete the challenge – how many miles can you log?

Congratulations to Paul for exceeding his goal, and for creating an excellent program to encourage others to be physically fit and enjoy the beautiful East Coast Greenway in the process. President Kennedy would be proud!

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Regional News: New England

Maine Lighthouse Ride!

On Saturday, September 10, the Eastern Trail Alliance will once again offer to amateurs and aficionados the best of Maine's world-famous coastline.  The Lighthouse Ride is one of the country's most scenic fundraisers, and the Eastern Trail Alliance is a most deserving beneficiary of this event.  Several routes of different lengths are offered; all are partially routed on the Eastern Trail (East Coast Greenway), and pass by up to nine classic Maine lighthouses.  For photos from last year, visit:

The Eastern Trail Alliance is one of the ECGA's oldest and most effective partners.  Plus, they're just great people.  To learn more and to register, visit: www.easterntrail.org/mlr   Registration is limited, so don't delay!

Improved Connection in Little Rhody

Monday, July 11 saw the inauguration of an improved on-road connection for the Blackstone River Bikeway between the Providence harborfront and Cumberland, 3 towns to the north. The addition of shared lane markings (aka "sharrows") and new signs illuminates the route clearly for both cyclists and motorists. Other improvements in this stretch of the route, including new bike lanes, will be added this fall. Click here to download maps of the route. ECGA thanks the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council for their hard work on this project!

Shared-lane markings like this one now guide cyclists from Providence to the
off-road Blackstone RIver Bikeway. Photo: Mary Murphy, Providence Journal http://www.projo.com

Alternate Route Proposed in Massachusetts

The Massachusetts Committee for the ECG voted on June 27 to realign the alternate route connecting Boston to Providence. This recommendation now goes to the ECGA Trail Council and Board of Trustees for approval. The recommendation does not affect the ECG spine route, connecting Boston and Providence via Worcester, MA.

The realigned route would head southeasterly out of Providence, RI to connect the historic Massachusetts cities of Fall River, New Bedford, and Provincetown (on the tip of Cape Cod) then return to Boston via ferry. Here is a conceptual map of part of this route, courtesy of the Southeast Region Planning and Economic Development District.

New England Bike-Walk Summit update

A fantastic New England Summit is coming together for this fall (Friday Oct. 7, historic downtown Providence, RI). Our most sincere thanks go to these recent sponsors: Sarah Hancock (a major sponsor), Fitzgerald & Halliday, the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals, Cyclesafe, and the RI Chapter of the American Planning Association. Their support, along with our other sponsors, are enabling this great opportunity to share, to learn, to network, and to have fun with like-minded New Englanders.

Here are a few handy links and downloads:

New England Bike-Walk Summit website
Summit facebook page
Summit LinkedIn page
Summit registration page
Call for Presentations (pdf)
Sponsor benefits sheet (pdf)

The Facebook page is the best way to keep apprised of developments, so don't be afraid to "like" it!

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Regional News: Mid Atlantic

Another Link in NYC

Randall's Island, nestled in the Harlem and East rivers among the boroughs of Manhattan, the Bronx, and Queens, is rapidly becoming a major sports field for adults (and younger). Its Island-wide bike/pedestrian pathway system will soon sport an additional segment: a mile-plus pathway beneath the dramatic, sand-colored arches of the Hell Gate Bridge and railroad trestle between the Hell Gate rapids to the south of Randall's Island Park and the Bronx Kill to its north.

The Island is already connected for walkers and cyclists to neighboring boroughs by way of the Triborough (RFK) Bridge and, in season, by the 103d St. pedestrian bridge. However, in 2012, the City will extend the bike/ped Hell Gate Pathway northward by building a bridge over the Bronx Kill, thus connecting the Island to the Bronx River Greenway, on the ECG's eastern route through NYC. Info: www.randallsisland.org.

Artist's rendering of the path under the Hell Gate Bridge to the Bronx. Source: Starr
Whitehouse Landscape Architects and Planners PLLC

ECG Signs Across Delaware

With thanks to the Delaware DOT and WILMAPCO, the ECG is now fully marked from Pennsylvania to Maryland.  These (photo below) are "M1-8a" signs, a relatively new type of sign for marking bike routes (the ECG is also marked across New Hampshire with this style of sign).

Photo by WILMAPCO, http://www.wilmapco.org/

Conference in Philly

On June 23rd, the Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC) with Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission had a regional trails summit. Two hundred people were in attendance at this all day event. The summit was very well presented with national bicycle advocates, politicians and regional experts all in discussion panels. After the summit, there was a bicycle ride across the east half of Pennsylvania that netted over $33,000.

In the Philadelphia and 9 County region there are significant efforts under way to link the regional trail system together, and the East Coast Greenway weighs prominently in this effort. The William Penn Foundation has devoted $10,000,000 of funding to be allocated specifically to trails of importance in the Philadelphia region. The regionally important trail systems focused on were the East Coast Greenway and the Schuylkill River Trail. Right now there is a request for funding, and our partner/host organizations are submitting letters of interest for funding portions of the East Coast Greenway in Pennsylvania. This is a great opportunity for the East Coast Greenway, and we thank our important and generous partners!

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Regional News: South Atlantic

The Tobacco Heritage Trail is Growing!

Roanoke River Rails-to-Trails, Inc. (RRRT) is pleased to announce Phase III construction of the Tobacco Heritage Trail. Slated to begin this fall, Phase III will connect two segments of existing trail, making a continuous span of trail totaling 17 miles to accommodate pedestrians, bicyclists and horseback riders. Upon completion, this will become the longest uninterrupted trail on the East Coast Greenway between Maryland and Florida.

The construction of Phase III of the Tobacco Heritage Trail is part of a larger, regional project by RRRT. When complete, there will be 160 miles of a safe, picturesque, historical trail, spanning 5 counties in Southside, Virginia. For more information contact Trail Coordinator, Rachel Wright (434) 447-7101 rwright@southsidepdc.org; to look at great photos of the trail (both finished and incomplete sections), visit the THT Facebook page.

Trailhead sign in Lawrenceville, VA. Photo: Roanoke River Rails-to-Trails

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Regional News: Southeast
Georgia Trail Numbers are In by Herb Hiller
How valuable is the East Coast Greenway? In Georgia (where our route is known as the Coastal Georgia Greenway), the numbers are in. A 2010 summary of research by the Center for Regional Analysis at Armstrong Atlantic State University tells us that:

The $100 million 155-mile, Coastal Georgia Greenway provides its six host counties (Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Glynn, Liberty, McIntosh) with an economic stimulus that supports more than 1,400 construction related jobs at the outset of shovel-ready projects for local contractors. In addition, state and local governments can expect an economic ripple effect that adds tax revenue of up to $1.2 million annually from increased household income, retail sales and property values. The trail is assumed to be complete by 2020 and to experience rapid growth in use to 2025, after which a slower long-term growth rate in use and economic impact occurs.

The Greenway is estimated to:

  • Attract 220,000 user-days in 2020 and 495,000 user-days in 2025
  • Generate expenditures of between $25 and $30 per user per day
  • Increase adjacent property value by 5% to 10%

Thanks to Coastal Georgia Greenway, Inc. Chairperson Jo Claire Hickson for passing this report our way.

Florida Connections by Herb Hiller

In Miami, now that work is almost complete on our trail from south of the Miami River to Florida City near entry to the Florida Keys, Herb met with Green Mobility Network Chairman John Hopkins to plan new initiatives to advance the Greenway north of the river through downtown Miami and Miami Beach. The route could become a choice of the tour planned for May 2012 by Cabot Cheese from Miami to Portland, Maine. First telephone  meeting with Miami Beach planners indicates that the tour would focus new trails awareness and trail-building commitment in their city and through northward extending beach communities.

On October 21 - 23, we will hold the ECGA Fall Trail Council and Board meetings in Stuart and Jupiter Florida. All are welcome to join us at the Trail Council meeting!

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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 (919) 797-0619.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Copyright 2011 East Coast Greenway Alliance