October 2012

In This Issue...

Greetings from the Director

  • Sandy Reminds Me Why We Do What We Do

National News

  • Vote on Great Candidates for ECG Board from ME/FL, NC, GA
  • New Fall/Winter Print Newsletter Available for Download
  • You Are Invited: ECG National Meeting in Richmond, VA


  • New ECG Guide to Bicycling and Walking in Virginia

ECGA In the News

  • Great Newspaper Articles and More

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

  • Blackstone Greenway Groundbreaking in MA
  • Air Line Trail Upgrades in Chaplin, CT
  • Couple Says "I Do!" on the ECG in Manchester, CT

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

  • Important Trail Opening and Groundbreaking in Philadelphia
  • ECG Signs Unveiled on Historic Calhoun Bridge, NJ & PA
  • 2012 Hudson Loop Ride a Success

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

  • ECG Signs Going Up in Richmond, VA
  • First Bike Summits Inspire Cyclists in the Carolinas
  • Bike from NC to the Richmond Meeting

Regional News: Southeast (GA, FL)

  • Cyclists Bike Florida ECG
  • ECG Florida State Committee Welcomes New Member
  • Amelia Island Trail Construction Underway

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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

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Thank you to our major sponsors:

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Greetings from ECGA Executive Director, Dennis Markatos-Soriano

Sandy Reminds Me Why We Do What We Do

Dear East Coast Greenway teammates,

This issue is full of inspiring stories, from new ribbon-cuttings and signings to groundbreakings for the safe and accessible connections of tomorrow. We highlight the growing use of our greenway -- for cycling, walking, and even a wedding! I'm so happy to see use of this public space for exercise, errands, and enjoyment climb into the millions.

We all have different values that drive our love for the East Coast Greenway vision. As one of the fiercest storms to ever approach our coast bears down, I'm reminded of a big reason why I put so much into this project. The East Coast Greenway is part of the solution to climate change and the growing heat and rising seas that affect us all. We are a United States of America, and while I don't anticipate flooding at my home in central North Carolina, I want all of my fellow Americans to be safe while infrastructure is damaged by a hurricane on steroids due to warmer-than-normal seas. Philadelphia and New York City, Baltimore and Newark, Wilmington and Bridgeport, we are with you as you face this storm. And we will do everything we can in its wake to help rebuild.

We must invest in solutions like the East Coast Greenway to keep our nation moving forward. Fostering sustainable communities throughout the Eastern Seaboard is key to a stable climate for tomorrow.

Together, we are building a sustainable & healthy America,

Dennis Markatos-Soriano

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National ECGA News
Outstanding Individuals Nominated for ECGA Board of Trustees

We have three excellent candidates nominated for our Board of Trustees this year, as well as several proposed bylaws amendments. Current ECGA members can vote in person at our Annual Meeting on November 17th, or by Proxy via mail or email.

Jacob Dolan of North Carolina brings a lifelong passion for the outdoors and dedication to stewardship. He has more than eight years of experience in the outdoor retail industry and is earning a certificate in Nonprofit Management at Duke University.

Gail Kirkland of Georgia is an outdoor enthusiast and 22 year veteran of REI who is responsible for the Co-op’s fleet of stores in the Southeastern United States. As a Georgia native, Gail is excited to support the ECGA's commitment to linking and promoting local trail routes that provide more access throughout the Southeast corridor.

Stephen Rees of Maine and Florida has enjoyed a successful career as a land use attorney, and is dedicated to land conservation, and economic development through eco-tourism. He is President of the Sunrise Trail Coalition in Maine, which oversees the longest continuous greenway on our route, the 85-mile Down East Sunrise Trail.

Read more about the candidates here!

Jacob Dolan

Gail Kirkland

Stephen Rees

Proposed Bylaw Amendments are to change the number of members required to make a quorum at the Annual Meeting from 100 to 25, to change the number of petitions required to nominate a board candidate from 25 to 5, and to change the maximum consecutive board terms from 3 to 4 three year terms. Read more here.

How to vote:

  • By Proxy - you can use the Proxy form attached here, and mail or email it to us by November 15th. Mail to: ECGA, 5315 Highgate Dr. Suite 105, Durham, NC 27713, or email to: debbie@greenway.org
  • In person at our Annual Meeting, which will be held in Richmond, Virginia on November 17th, following the Trail Council meeting, at the Virginia War Memorial, at 621 S. Belvidere Street, Richmond, Virginia

Please call 919-797-0619 if you have any questions about how to vote.

Fall / Winter Print Newsletter Now Out!

Read all about it! This issue of our print newsletter features a key trail connection in New Jersey, record ECG signage placed on our route, a report from our 2nd Week a Year Tour, and More! Download it here. Print newsletters should have arrived in mailboxes of members and subscribers. Want a print copy? Email info@greenway.org and we'll be glad to send you one!

Fall Trail Council Meeting, Nov. 16th and 17 Richmond, VA

Everyone is invited to join us in Richmond, Virginia for our next Trail Council meeting!

On Friday November 16th, there will be a walking tour from 4 to 5:30 along the ECG, starting at the Holiday Inn Express, 201 East Cary Street. The tour will pass by the Virginia War Memorial, historic Tredegar Ironworks (a National Park Service site), and will include remarkable views and sites found on Brown's Island before ending at historic Main Street Station.

Keith Laughlin, President of Rails-to-Trails Conservancy will speak in the morning of November 17th at our Trail Council meeting! The meeting will be held at the Virginia War Memorial, 621 South Belvidere Street in Richmond, 9 AM to 5 PM on Saturday November 17th. (Please RSVP to debbie@greenway.org if you plan to attend the meeting.)

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ECG Spotlight - New ECG Virginia Guide to Bicycling and Walking

New ECG Virginia Guide Created in Partnership with Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation

Virginia Guide Cover

The East Coast Greenway Alliance and the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) recently published a beautiful guidebook to the ECG in Virginia. East Coast Greenway Virginia: A Guide to Bicycling and Walking was produced with financial support from the VA DCR, Federal Highways Administration's Transportation Enhancement program, and significant in-kind support from the Virginia Bicycling Federation.

The guides are spiral bound with a laminated cover, so perfect for using on the trail! They feature maps of the route, detailed cue sheets (text directions), alternate and linking routes, and information on services, points of interest, and other important information for travelers. We created the guide to encourage sustainable tourism in Virginia, bringing dollars to local businesses along the ECG route and helping to reduce road congestion and air pollution.

The project began in 2009, when our then-South Atlantic Coordinator, Steven Bevington, began working closely with DCR staff, the Virginia Bicycling Federation, and several regional and municipal planning agencies on the routing for the guide. They had to finalize the ECG route in Virginia, and also identify potential future trail connections. Once the route was detailed, maps were created by design firm DeNovo Creative, and the cue sheets were drafted then finalized by volunteers from the VBF and staff from DCR and ECGA. Once the maps and cues were finalized, DeNovo Creative created a final package and sent it to print.

We are so glad that we not only produced a beautiful guide, but that we had the opportunity to partner with the Virginia DCR and get to know them and the hard work they do protecting the environment in Virginia. We hope to collaborate with them again in the future! Special thanks go to Jennifer Wampler of VA DCR, Joe Morgan and Champe Burnley of VBF, and Eric Weis and Steven Bevington who made this project such a success!

Get your guide free of charge at one of Virginia's 12 Welcome Centers, or pick one up in Richmond at our Trail Council meeting Nov. 17th. Or you can order one by mail from our website (the cost is $5 for shipping and handling), or download a pdf.

You can download other East Coast Greenway publications here, including ECG guides for New Jersey and Pennsylvania / Delaware, which will be reprinted and available in hardcopy again in the next year. And watch for our new guide for Maryland and Washington DC, coming out soon!

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ECGA In the News

NJ.com: Union County Trees Go High Tech with Digital ID Tags

Plan Philly: CSX Bridge Complete, and Port Richmond Trail Groundbreaking

WPRI.com, Providence, RI: Couple Hikes 2500 Miles for Veterans

Herald Newswire.com, Philadelphia, PA: Port Richmond Trail Groundbreaking Celebration

Telegram, Worster, MA: Couple Hikes to Aid Veterans

Rails to Trails Blog: Middlesex Greenway a Valuable Local Asset

Hampton - North Hampton Patch, NH: Hike For Heroes Veterans Hike ECG through Hampton

New Hampshire.com, Portsmouth, NH: Active Heroes Hike through NH

Bradenton Herald, FL: Authentic Florida Conference

Durham Herald, Durham NC: ECGA Staff Heads Tobacco Trail Bike Patrol

Itemlive.com, Lynn, MA: Saugus Rail Trail Underway

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Regional News: New England
Blackstone Greenway Groundbreaking in MA

A long-awaited groundbreaking for the Blackstone Greenway (formerly known in MA as the Blackstone River Bikeway) has happened! Work has begun on the southernmost Massachusetts section of this 48-mile bi-state trail project which connects Worcester, MA with Providence, RI. The 4.2 miles leading north from the RI/MA border will be in the towns of Blackstone, Millville, and Uxbridge, and include a series of scenic bridges as the trail passes over the meandering Blackstone River. There will be more updates as this phase of development moves forward.

Blackstone River Groundbreaking

Groundbreaking in Blackstone, MA. Photo courtesy of VHB, Inc.

Air Line Trail Upgrades in Chaplin, CT

The Town of Chaplin has begun work to upgrade its 3.4-mile section of the Air Line Trail, which extends a total of 24 miles from Willimantic to Putnam. Drainage and clearing work is complete, and all that remains is to apply and compact a layer of stone dust; that will happen in the spring. While one may presently traverse the full 24 miles on foot or with knobby tires, this sort of upgrade is needed in Chaplin, Hampton, Pomfret, and Putnam to complete the trail to ECG standards. Eastern CT is currently one of the hillier parts of the ECG, as the current on-road route goes over the hills rather than around them. Completion of the trail will flatten this route significantly!

The Air Line Trail is beautiful, though needs drainage and clearing upgrades before becoming part of the ECG travel route. Photo by ECGA.

Airline Trail
Couple Ties the Knot on the ECG in Manchester, CT

We've had honeymooners and fiancees travel the ECG, but this is the first time we know of a wedding being held on our route! Congratulations to Gokham Mursaloglu and Katherine Lehmann, who were married on the ECG in Manchester Connecticut! ECGA Board Member Steven Mitchell (who is a Justice of the Peace) performed the ceremony on a beautiful new section of the ECG on October 1st. We wish all the best to the happy couple!

Greenway Wedding

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Regional News: Mid Atlantic
Important Bridge Connection and Groundbreaking in Philadelphia

The Locust Street Bridge over the CSX railroad was officially opened on Saturday, October 20th in Philadelphia. This key connection creates unimpeded access between the Schuylkill Banks Trail section of the ECG and the city of Philadelphia!

The $7.1 million project was funded by a federal TIGER grant. Thank you to the City of Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, and the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia for your work on the project.  

Mark Focht, Philadelphia's Deputy Director of Parks and Recreation, was honored with an ECG tile for all his excellent work over the years to support the development of trails and the ECG network. Thank you, Mark!

Another important TIGER funded project broke ground on October 22nd in Philadelphia! Speakers at the ceremony included Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz. The 1.5 mile long Port Richmond Trail in Pulaski Park is a key segment of the East Coast Greenway along the northern Delaware River. It should be completed in the spring of 2013.

Photos by Allison Hamilton

Bridge over CSX

Opening of Locust Street Bridge in Philadelphia

port richmong groundbreaking

Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz at the Port Richmond Groundbreaking ceremony in October.

New Signage on Historic Calhoun Street Bridge Between PA and NJ

The Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission (DRJTBC) placed ECG signage on their historic Calhoun Street Bridge which links Trenton NJ to Morrisville PA.  Thank you DRJTBC! The signage was officially unveiled in a ceremony in Morrisville, PA on October 23rd. The acting Executive Director of the DRJTBC, Arnold J. Conoline; Commissioner for the DRJTBC (New Jersey), Yuki Moore Laurenti; and ECGA's Mid-Atlantic Coordinator, Andrew Hamilton, officially placed the sign on the bridge. Read more about the ceremony!

Calhoun Street Bridge Signage

Arnold Conoline, Yuki Moore Laurenti, and Andy Hamilton with the newly placed signage. Photo by Cie Stroud, Courtesy of the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission (DRJTBC).

Hudson Loop Ride

The New York and New Jersey committees for the ECG put on an excellent Hudson River Loop ride.  This annual event showcases some of the most beautiful views of the Manhattan skyline.  A huge thanks to all who organized and led the ride, especially Anthony Savarese and Michael Dannemiller.  If you missed this excellent ride this time, be sure to put it on your calendar for next year!

Manhattan Loop Ride

Photo by Mike Dannemiller

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Regional News: South Atlantic
ECG Signs Going Up in Richmond, VA

The City of Richmond, VA, continues to inspire and support the ECG! On October 22, the Richmond City Council endorsed the routing of the ECG through the city, including installation of ECG signs to mark the way. Richmondites and other ECG users will see those signs in place before the end of the year.

The Belle Isle Bridge, suspended beneath US Route 1, carries Richmond cyclists and walkers on the ECG over the James River to Belle Isle. Photo by ECGA.

Belle Island Bridge
ECG Helps Cycling Ramp Up in the South

North Carolina and South Carolina / Georgia recently held bike summits, which were educational and inspiring to cyclists in the region.

North Carolina's first ever bike summit was sponsored by the NC Active Transportation Alliance, and had over 150 people in attendance. The informative sessions covered topics ranging from funding, safety, encouragement, and greenway development. Lauren Blackburn, NC DOT's Bicycle Pedestrian Unit Director, began the Summit by highlighting the fact that the South Atlantic region is expected to grow rapidly in the next few decades, and careful planning is needed to accommodate the growth, as well as growing aging and youth populations who do not have access to automobiles.

The LAB's Andy Clarke delivered the keynote speech, inspiring the crowd to find the bicycle infrastructure solutions that work for our communities. The ECG co-sponsored the summit, and Dennis Markatos-Soriano spoke on a panel about developing Greenways in North Carolina.

Dennis Markatos-Soriano at Georgia-Lina Bike Summit

Dennis Markatos-Soriano speaking at the Georgia-Lina Bike Summit. Photo by Jeff Miller.

The ECGA's Dennis Markatos-Soriano kicked off the Georgia-Lina Bike Summit held in beautiful Augusta, GA, along the border with South Carolina. Veteran summit organizers at Georgia Bikes, like Executive Director Brent Buice, joined forces with the Palmetto Cycling Coalition to make this the third annual state summit for Georgia and the first state summit for South Carolina. Over 150 people attended the inspiring cross-border summit.

The summits were wonderful opportunities to share the East Coast Greenway vision with our southern partners. Congratulations to the outstanding folks who put them together. Together, we are making biking much safer for residents and visitors throughout the South!

Bike from Raleigh/Durham, NC to the ECG Meeting in Richmond, VA!

Want to bike from the Triangle of NC to Richmond for the ECG Fall Trail Council Meeting? On Nov. 15th and 16th, one of our excellent VA State Committee / Virginia Bicycling Federation members, Joe Morgan, is leading a van supported ride for up to five more cyclists.

Starting in the Raleigh / Durham, NC area on Thursday, November 15, the group will bike through Greenville, NC, pedaling the Tar River greenway that is proposed for the ECG, and stopping at both the NC and VA ECG sections on the Dismal Swamp Canal trails. The day will end for an overnight stay in Norfolk at the Morgan’s Chesapeake Bay condo, with access to the Elizabeth River Trail and Norfolk Light Rail. On Friday, November 16, the riders will take in the Suffolk Seaboard Coastline Trail and Prentis Street side path, continuing on the Scotland / Jamestown Ferry across the James River to the Virginia Capital Trail. The ride will end in Richmond in time for the ECGA 4:00 PM Canal Walk!

Read more about the ride, and for information contact jnmorgan@pulaskicounty.org or 540-315-2831.

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Regional News: Southeast
Cyclists on the Florida ECG

The Greenway through Florida is becoming a favorite venue for cyclists. So far this year several groups have biked either all or large sections of the state route. Most recent between Jacksonville and Key West has been LiveLove 2012: Curt’s Ride to Cure Cancer, in memory of North Florida Bicycle Club Member Curt Ewald. The ECG's Florida Committee is at work with the Florida Bicycle Association to create a master list that makes sure riders are familiar with the resources of the East Coast Greenway.

ECG Florida Committee Welcomes Victoria Freeman

Bicycle commuter Victoria Freeman, owner-operator of The House on Cherry Street Bed & Breakfast in the Riverside District of Jacksonville, has joined the ECG Florida Committee. Victoria’s inn, with its organic garden, sits directly on the north shore of the St. Johns River. Welcome Victoria!

Victoria Freeman
Construction Underway on Amelia Island Trail

Mid-February/early March will mark expected 120-day completion of the first 6.2 miles of Nassau County’s paved, off-road and multi-use Amelia Island Trail. The trail will run south from Peters Point Park on the south coastal side of Fernandina Beach to Nassau Sound, where cyclists will be able to connect with the Timucuan Trail under construction through the Talbot Islands. Together the two trails will provide some 11 miles of safe recreation by the end of next year. The trail will essentially be a linear public park, with much of the way beneath existing tree canopy. Advocates, led by Amelia Island Trails, have worked since the turn of the century to get the Nassau County section in place. Read more about the project!

Funding for AIT construction comes from federal sources through the North Florida Transportation Planning Organization, a body that manages and prioritizes transportation projects through four counties of Northeast Florida.

The non-profit Friends of the Amelia Island Trail, Inc., has been formed to raise funds to help maintain the trail and provide trailside improvements. Contributions can be sent to Friends of the Amelia Island Trail, Inc, P.O. Box 16113, Fernandina Beach, FL, 32035.

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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 2012 East Coast Greenway Alliance