December 2011

In This Issue...

National News

  • Greetings from the Director
  • 2012 Week-a-Year Tour Aug. 19 - 25!
  • Donate Your Car, Help the ECGA
  • $20 for 20 Campaign - One Week Left
  • Cabot Tour 2012


  • ECG 20th Anniversary Kickoff in NYC

ECGA In the News

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

  • More Greenway Completed on Maine's Eastern Trail
  • ECG River Crossing Via a Shuttle Bus??

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

  • New Jersey Closes Key Gap!
  • Spring Garden St. Vision, Philadelphia
  • Jones Fall Trail Under Construction, Baltimore

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

  • Charleston, SC Bike/Ped Bridge Crossing
  • North Carolina Leads Early Designations

Regional News: Southeast (GA, FL)

  • Coming in 2013 - Workshop on Wheels in GA
  • Over a Million Visit Florida Keys Heritage Trail Annually
  • New Trail Added to St. Johns River-to-Sea Loop
  • St. Lucie County Evaluates Trail Options

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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

Join the ECGA

Donate to the ECGA

Contact Us


Greetings from ECGA Executive Director, Dennis Markatos-Soriano

Looking Ahead to 2012 & An Opportunity

Dear East Coast Greenway teammates,

As 2011 comes to a close, I want to thank everyone for making the year such a special one. We transitioned our headquarters to a new and exciting launching pad for further progress: Durham, North Carolina. We brought over a dozen new local trail segments into our network, attracted thousands of new people into the ECG team, and kicked off our 20th anniversary celebrations with a sold out crowd in New York City.

Now focus turns to 2012 and making it a breakout year for our project. We aim to sign 500 miles of our route and to designate at least 65 miles of new off-road greenway. We also will host major events such as our 2nd Week A Year ECG Tour from Portland, ME, to Hartford, CT, and the Cabot Community Tour from Miami to Portland.

To ensure success in 2012, a generous donor has recently agreed to match up to $25,000 in donations during the month of December. To participate, you can donate here. This is a great opportunity to help our project achieve its potential in the year ahead!

Together, We Are Building a Sustainable & Healthy America.

Happy Holidays!

Dennis Markatos-Soriano

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National ECGA News
2012 Week-a-Year Tour - Portland to Hartford, Aug. 19th - 25th

We are very excited about our 2012 Tour that will explore the ECG between Portland, Maine and Hartford, Connecticut! This diverse route will go along the coast in Southern Maine and through the cities of Boston, MA and Providence, RI. We'll be exploring 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. We hope you can join us!

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.) Participants will make their own lodging and meal arrangements - organizers are compiling a list of hotel, camping, and restaurant options.

To participate, each person is asked to fundraise a minimum of $500 for the East Coast Greenway Alliance. This is a great way to get friends and family involved, and everyone who donates to help people do the tour will get a membership to the ECGA! Please see our blog for more information about the tour and how to register.

ME - CT Route Map
Donate Your Car, Help the ECG!

Need to get rid of an old car, truck, or boat? Now you can donate it and help the ECG! The East Coast Greenway Alliance is now a member of Donate for Charity, an organization that picks up and auctions off used vehicles and donates the proceeds to charities! They operate in every state, pick up free of charge from anywhere, and vehicles can be running or not. You receive the auction price of your vehicle or $500, whichever is greater, as a tax deduction, and they donate 70% - 80% of the sale price to the ECGA. For more information or to schedule a pick-up - or call Donate For Charity toll-free at (866) 392-4483.

Donate for Charity Logo
$20 for 20 - One Week Remaining!

Thank you to everyone who joined or donated in the past few weeks under our "$20 for 20" membership event! We really appreciate your support and are glad to have you as members! If you want to participate, you have one more week to join at this special rate.

If you haven't yet joined the ECG, a donation of at least $20 between now and December 27th will get you a year's membership - half off our regular price! As a member, you will be part of the national treasure that is the ECG, and you'll get discounts on ECG rides and gear! You can easily join online (enter $20 in the donation form).

If you're already a member, can you help us continue our greenway progress with a tax-deductible contribution of $20 to celebrate our 20th year? (You can easily donate online, mail us your donation, or call 919-797-0619.)

Thank you for your support! Together we are revolutionizing transportation for health, community, the economy, and the environment, one trail at a time.


Cabot Community Tour to Explore the ECG from Miami to Portland Next Summer!

We've mentioned an amazing tour along the ECG that our friends at Cabot Cheese are leading in 2012. Now the Tour's website is live! See the schedule and locations at: We plan to engage thousands of people in ECG communities large and small between May 12th and July 7th.

Three ECGA members will be biking the whole route - Myron and Cathy Skott of Georgia and Robert Spiegelman of New Hampshire. You are welcome to join them for as much of it as you'd like and we would love to work with volunteers to ensure that our major events during the tour are a big success! Please email us to get involved at! Looking forward to it!

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ECG Spotlight - 20th Anniversary Celebrations in NYC
20th Anniversary Celebrated in NYC December 10th

On December 10th, the ECGA hosted a fun day of events to celebrate our 20th Anniversary in the city where we were founded. Five of our original founders were able to join us, and everyone really enjoyed hearing their insights on creating the ECG.

The events included a bike ride through Central Park, Manhattan bike lanes, and the East River Greenway to the American Youth Hostel on Amsterdam Ave., the site of our founding. At the Hostel, we heard from five of our founders about the meeting held there 20 years ago. Their vision and dedication to the ECG is really inspiring!

founders squires and lutz

Founders Chris Squires and David Lutz

After the Hostel event, we biked along the Hudson River Greenway, a beautiful section of the ECG, and joined up with a sunset walking tour on the High Line in Chelsea.

bike ride dec 10

Later that evening, over 70 people attended our Kickoff Celebration at REI in SoHo, in the newly renovated Puck Building. We enjoyed hearing more from our founders, and climate scientist Michael Oppenheimer spoke about the need for innovative solutions like the ECG. Our talented musical guests the Bandana Splits and Corporal, fronted by Michael Shannon, provided entertainment.

founders king, votava, ghirin

Board Chair David Read, Founders Pat King, Karen Votava, Aldo Ghirin, and Executive Director Dennis Markatos-Soriano

Other key East Coast Greenway supporters were honored at the day's events including Hilge Hurford and Don Passantino.

Thank you to everyone who attended the day's events, and to our generous sponsors! REI, the Anderson-Rogers Foundation, Jeffrey & Ileen Doppelt, Masha Mimran, Koenig Russo Associates, Andy & Allison Hamilton, Bike and Roll, Hostelling International, ASA, and Harry's Italian, Sarah Hancock, Jim and Debby Sharpe, and Elizabeth Brody.

(Photos by Robert Russo)

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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:

Charleston, SC Will Improve Bridge Crossing

Amelia Island, FL Trail Progress

Simsbury, CT Goes for Silver Bike Friendly Community Status Features the ECG

Trail Construction Underway in Baltimore

CT DOT Starts Merritt Parkway Study

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Regional News: New England
Eastern Trail Does it Again!
More of Maine's Eastern Trail completed! The latest section, in Saco and Old Orchard Beach, connects a pair of completed sections, creating a continuous stretch of trail over ten miles long. Of particular note for this latest stretch is the bridge over US Rt. 1 (seen in the background of the photo below). Learn more at (Photo courtesy of Jim Bucar.) Eastern Trail Bridge
East Coast Greenway River Crossing on a Shuttle Bus?
The ECG crossing between Maine and New Hampshire is on historic Memorial Bridge. For the last few months, the bridge has been open to bikes and pedestrians only, as the DOTs prepare for demolition then construction of a replacement. The bridge will be closed to bikes and pedestrians on January 3. The DOT solution? Shuttle bus service, with bike racks, twice an hour.

Of course, the ECGA knows that this is inadequate. We are presently strategizing with our partners. We'll be in touch in January, asking for your assistance as we pursue other options. Stay tuned.
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Regional News: Mid Atlantic
New Jersey Closes Key Gap in the ECG!

The largest gap in the alignment of the East Coast Greenway as it passes through New Jersey has just been completed! For the first time, pedestrians can walk along sidewalks between Jersey City and Newark -- two of New Jersey's largest cities.

New Jersey Department of Transportation recently constructed sidewalk along the ECG alignment of Truck Route 1 & 9 in Newark and Kearny. This links Lincoln Park in Jersey City, across Kearny, through the Ironbound section of Newark to Newark's Penn Station. There are already ECG wayfinding signs in place the rest of the way across New Jersey, between Newark and Trenton.

Now that this new segment of sidewalk is available, ECG travelers will finally be able to travel 100% of the way across New Jersey under their own power -- no trains needed! There is still advocacy work to do as we continue to improve this important secion of the Greenway. However, this is a huge step forward as there is finally a continuous sidewalk network between Newark and Jersey City for everyone to use! (Mike Dannemiller, NJ State Committee Co-Chair)
ECG Spring Garden Street Vision, Philadelphia, PA
Spring Garden Street vision planning is well underway to create a 2.2 mile long bicycle and pedestrian oriented street from the Delaware River to the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia. There have been two public meetings to engage the community. The Pennsylvania Environmental Council has been leading the effort with consultants to re-vision the potential of the street. There are two plans being considered, one with bike lanes on the curb side east and west bound, another with a multi-use path in the center median. This link allows you to be engaged in the process.
Jones Fall Trail Under Construction, Baltimore, MD
Construction has started on phase two of the Jones Falls Trail, an integral part of the ECG through Baltimore. When complete, phase two will close a missing link in Baltimore's trail system. This trail segment will connect the existing Jones Falls Trail segments north of downtown to the Gwynns Falls Trail at the Inner Harbor, providing safe trail passage through the heart of the city. Much of the trail is to be created from space taken from streets and/or wide sidewalks. Jones Fall Trail Construction

The newest trail segment will extend from Penn Station (Amtrak) past the city farmers' market, the Shot Tower historic site, the Police Memorial, then to and around the Inner Harbor to connect with the Gwynns Falls Trail for passage to BWI-Thurgood Marshall Airport, Annapolis, and beyond.

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Regional News: South Atlantic
Charleston, South Carolina's Bike/Ped Bridge Crossing

As we reported to you earlier this year, the Ashley River crossings to the west of historic downtown Charleston have been a big challenge to safe bicycling and walking. But improvements are afoot! SCDOT has given its approval to the City to implement a creative solution to a challenging issue. One lane of the Legare Bridge will be dedicated to bicycle and pedestrian use, while a permanent solution is devised. Mayor Joe Riley championed the idea and calls the DOT's decision "a game changer." The ECGA cheers this development! Read more here.

North Carolina Leads Early Designation Process

Sometimes completing paperwork can be just as hard as building new trails. The paperwork our ECG team focuses on is to designate new trail segments as officially meeting our standards and integrating them into our 2,900-mile network. Volunteers in North Carolina have already completed most of their paperwork for two segments to present to our May Trail Council meeting in Portland. Thank you, Dave Connelly and Bethel Paris, for your leadership!

The process for designating trails includes completing an application that describes the nominated section of trail, filling out an inspection of the trail with photos, and getting an endorsement letter from the local managing agency affirming that they will look after the linear park and want it to be part of the ECG system. (If you'd like to get involved in designating trails in your state, please let us know!)

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Regional News: Southeast
Workshop on Wheels, Coming in Feb. 2013 in Georgia
Committee work has begun toward a second Workshop on Wheels through the Greenway route in coastal Georgia. The Coastal Georgia Greenway has scheduled the workshop for February 15-19, 2013. The tour will draw attention to the eastern wildlife corridor that surrounds the Greenway and that’s a protection priority of the nonprofit Wildlife Network. ECGA Southeast Region Program Consultant Herb Hiller will chair a committee to facilitate resumed water taxi service between St. Marys, Georgia and Fernandina Beach, Florida that ended earlier this year. The first Workshop on Wheels took place three years before, underwritten in large part by EverBank of Jacksonville and by the St. Johns River Alliance.

Over a Million People Use Florida Keys Heritage Trail Annually

The Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail, the southernmost section of the East Coast Greenway, has become one of the most popular trails in America even though only two-thirds complete. More than 1 million users a year walk and cycle the trail for the most part through its northern section between Key Largo and Islamorada. Another 15 miles, newly complete this year, bring total miles to 70 of the trail’s intended 106. Next January 22 will mark the centennial of train service that for the first time connected the Keys without the need for boat to cross open water. It’s that railbed, largely left intact after the destruction of multiple bridges by a hurricane in 1935, that soon supported a road link and that, nearing completion today, will also for the first time supply connection by trail.

New Miles Added to East Central Regional Rail-Trail

Almost seven new miles are complete of the East Central Regional Rail-Trail that makes up a portion of St. Johns River-to-Sea Loop. The Loop includes both spine and alternative route of the Greenway through Volusia County. The route will offer the first close-up look at the county’s large conservation holdings between the Atlantic coast and St. Johns River. A recent tour of the newly completed miles included glimpses of an active eagle nest, a field of longhorn cattle, a sunning rat snake, and long sections of cypress canopy above board bridges across wetlands. (Photo Courtesy of Wayne Jackson.)

East Central RRT


St. Lucie County Evaluates New Trail Routes
St. Lucie County is newly evaluating two routes for the Greenway between Indian River County to the north and an already designated section of the Greenway that runs from south in the county to near Stuart in the next county south. Either of the two new routes will avoid encroaching on the Savannahs Preserve State Park.
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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