May 2010


In This Issue...


National News

  • Greetings from Executive Director Dennis Markatos-Soriano
  • Bike (or walk) to Work Day! (AKA every day)

Regional News: Southeast

  • From low-hanging fruit to ongoing creative advocacy

Regional News: South Atlantic

  • Re-routing in Virginia

Regional News: Mid Atlantic

  • Bronxville to the Battery
  • Portal Bridge: the saga continues
  • Final notice: The Big Walk!
  • 2nd annual Westchester Bike Summit

Regional News: New England

  • Ribbon Cutting in Massachusetts
  • New England Bike-Walk Summit

Social Networks:


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

Staff
Dennis Markatos-Soriano: Executive Director

Kitty Carter: Office Manager/Membership Coordinator/Bookkeeper

Herb Hiller: Southeast Region Consultant

Mike Oliva: Mid-Atlantic Regional Trail Coordinator

Eric Weis: Trail Program Coordinator


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National ECGA News

Greetings from ECGA Executive Director, Dennis Markatos-Soriano

Taking Time to Celebrate Progress

Dear ECGA members,

I knew the East Coast Greenway grew in 2009, but it wasn't until we completed the State of the Trail Report 2010 (available here, 8.5 MB) that it became apparent how great the year was in terms of new miles designated. In fact, our trail grew faster than China's economy - at a staggering 14.7% growth rate. And our growth in 2010 may even accelerate as new ribbon cuttings are taking place all the time up and down the corridor.

Such outstanding progress amidst the Great Recession is something we should all take time to celebrate. You can pat yourself on the back and revel in the fact that our dream of a safe and accessible biking and walking route from Key West, Florida, to Calais, Maine, really is becoming a reality. Without taking time to celebrate our successes, we face the possibility of burning out during this marathon project.

The East Coast Greenway (ECG) is aiding communities along the route in their quest to achieve local sustainable transportation revolutions. For instance, the town of Simsbury, Connecticut, just became the first Bike Friendly Community in its state thanks in large part to their active hosting of the ECG. And the City of New York increased its number of cyclists by 28% in 2009 - with the ECG/Hudson River Greenway the top cyclist commuting corridor.

These and other successes should not go unnoticed, especially when sad events threaten to bring us down like the Gulf oil disaster (that our oil-independent trail can help prevent in the future).

Just like the importance of smelling the roses and taking in the views on a lovely spring walk or ride, let's take a little time right now to enjoy all the progress we are making happen along this emerging national treasure of the East Coast Greenway.

Onwards to a healthy and sustainable America!

Dennis


Photo by Steve Rosenbaum & Jerry Markatos

Bike to Work Day: May 21, 2010

We all know that biking and walking to work can have an enormous positive impact on individual health, public health, environmental health, and energy security. Many of us already have a green commute (some even using the ECG!), so every day is bike (or walk) to work day. But for many others, leaving the car at home is a daunting concept. If you find yourself in that camp, yet wish to make that switch, there are resources available to help. Visit this page for bicycle commuting information from the League of American Bicyclists. Good luck!


ECGA Trail Council meeting

Our spring Trail Council meeting was held on May 1, on the campus of Rutgers University, in Newark, NJ.

Highlights included a highly informative report on the successful $20+ million TIGER grant for Philadelphia, courtesy of Spencer Finch from the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, and the designation of over 30 more miles of trail, most in southern Florida.

The fall Trail Council meeting will be on Saturday, October 23, in NC's Triangle region. More information, when it is prepared, will be made available at greenway.org. Hope to see you there!

Regional News: Southeast
Herb Hiller reports:


From low-hanging fruit to ongoing creative advocacy


After a sharp 1% boost for the Greenway - 30-plus miles newly designated along our 3,000-mile route -- what chances for keeping aftermath morale high?

Good, indeed; thanks.

That 30-mile early May designation extends south from downtown Miami to Florida City - last stop before the Florida Keys.

Roughly half those 30 miles run below Miami-Dade County's elevated Metrorail commuter line, the other half in the corridor of a dedicated busway south to Florida City. The M-Path has been largely in place since 1985; the South Miami-Dade Busway since 2007.

Thanks to volunteers of Miami-Dade's Green Mobility Network, the 30 miles swiftly passed review by the Alliance trail council and its board of trustees during early May votes in Newark.

Yet the section does mark the last of low-hanging fruit for Florida's Greenway route.

We can now say farewell to easy pickings, hello to the seeding of additional miles to come, which is to say, to the next 400 through the Sunshine State.

It's worth noting that, although Florida's two southernmost counties between Key West and Miami now show 90 miles of designated route, progress along the trail extends along all sections of the coast.

Assessing the route north from Miami-Dade, Broward County claims over four miles of completed trail, Palm Beach County 14. Treasure Coast counties of Martin, St. Lucie and Indian River together another 31.4; Brevard along the Space Coast nearly 30.

Then Volusia, Flagler and St. Johns add over 23 miles of completed spine route, plus more completed miles of alternative trail route all congruent with the newly popular St. Johns River-to-Sea Loop (initiated by the Alliance). Duval County, coterminous with the City of Jacksonville, supplies another 4.6 miles, while northern-most Nassau shows 10 miles complete including the connection afforded by Cumberland Sound Ferry Service with St. Marys, Georgia.

Then why does return to seeding new miles appear nonetheless morale boosting?

That's because sprouts do pop from planted seed, and while, yes; a certain drudgery is inescapable, so is creativity. No place is this more apparent than through big Volusia County. Here, our spine and alternate routes include multiple sections of gap along east, south and western portions.

Good prospects show from a new Halifax Heritage Byway & Trails not-for-profit whose scope of regional interest surrounding the Daytona Beaches precisely covers sections of gap. The group's Urban Trails Committee also newly includes ECGA representation. Also in metro Daytona, a new trails-positive tourism chief has just succeeded the retiring trails-passive chief. ECGA has already made itself known.

Further this month, the A&E team developing a design plan for four rural towns in northwest Volusia has included plans for a multi-use trail through gap that has so far resisted advocacy directed at numerous agencies. Indeed, this trail now for the first time also appears on the comprehensive trail map of Volusia County (find it here). It's the 19-mile northwestern section from where Volusia's Spring-to-Spring Trail was previously shown to end at DeLeon Springs State Park north to the Putnam County line.

Also newly, West Volusia's River of Lakes Heritage Corridor that last month at ECGA's request named a trails committee that at its first meeting has agreed to prepare a resolution for adoption by the parent body that will call for closing the northwest Volusia gap.

At its next meeting, Destination DeLand, a city-focused marketing group, will hear about two new trail-apropos cycling projects, while the Volusia County Council will hold a workshop session on trails in July, led by the Greenway Alliance.

Creativity lightens the trudge. Watch for the next crop of low-hanging fruit.

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Regional News: South Atlantic


Re-routing in Virginia


One nice side-effect of our ongoing Virginia ECG guide development has been the refinement of the route in Virginia. A series of meetings across the state put keen eyes to the roads used, and some important changes have been made, especially in the Woodbridge area and between South Hill and Petersburg. Look for new google maps and cue sheets in the coming weeks - and enjoy the ride!

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Regional News: Mid-Atlantic


Cool NY bike ride!


The third annual Bronxville-to-Battery Park Bicycle Ride will be held on Sunday, June 6, starting at 8:30 am at Slave to the Grind Coffee Shop in Bronxville. Ride along greenways and low-volume roads at an easy pace for 25 miles through Westchester County and The Bronx, then along the Hudson River Greenway to Lower Manhattan. We'll note improvements made since last year's ride. Participation is free but tax-deductible donations to the ECGA are encouraged. For more details and to register, click here.


 


NJ's Portal Bridge


The ECGA is asking all supporters (especially New Jersey residents) to call the two NJ Senators requesting their support for a bike & walk pathway on the new Portal Bridge in the NJ Meadowlands. Please call today! Sen. Lautenberg's office: contact David Garten, 202-224-3224 and Sen. Menendez's office: contact Alex Taurel, 202-224-4744. If you have time to send a letter of support to USDOT as well, that would be wonderful. A letter template can be found here.
 


50 Mile Walk: this Sunday!


The "BIG WALK" is getting near! Don't miss out and sign up for this great event today here.

"The Big Walk", or NJ2NY50, is a one-day distance walk that will occur on Sunday, May 23, 2010, along the East Coast Greenway starting in Metropark Station, Iselin, NJ and ending at Penn Station, New York City. The objective of the event is to walk 50 miles at a moderate pace through various communities and commercial areas in our metropolitan area. Participants can choose to walk any distance up to 50 miles and set their own goals, while walking with the group. Online registration is currently open and there is no charge for participating.

This is a joint effort of individuals and pro-pedestrian organizations to build awareness of the East Coast Greenway, health and fitness, and alternative transportation options. For your convenience, join with the group at various meeting points along the trail that are in proximity to rail and bus lines. Adventure to places you probably have not seen up close. Join other walkers and advocates of pedestrian rights in building better communities. Be part of the movement.

 


ECG thanks Rep. Schwartz


PA Committee Chair Andy Hamilton met with Congresswomen Allyson Schwartz and presented her with a handcrafted East Coast Greenway tile in appreciation of her support in acquiring the $23 million TIGER grant award and other ECG initiatives on which Rep. Schwartz is working.


 


News from Westchester County, NY


The 2nd Annual Westchester Bike Summit was a success. State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins spoke to the scores of participants about her efforts to establish a "3 foot law" - that is, legislation mandating that motorists provide 3 feet of distance between their car and a bike while passing the cyclist. Advocates spoke about Yonkers and Westchester County spending the $1.2 million grant they received in 2002 to make improvements to the Bronx River Corridor from Bronxville to NYC. ECG will be hosting a meeting about this on June 3rd at Yonkers Library. For more details about the summit or the upcoming meeting, or to get involved, contact mike@greenway.org or Davidmckaywilson@aol.com.


 
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Regional News: New England


Massachusetts Ribbon-Cutting!


Sections of the Border-to-Boston Trail in Salisbury and Newburyport, MA are now open for business! In addition, a brand-new ECG trailside kiosk has been constructed near the trailhead in Salisbury. You can check everything out on Sunday May 23 at a fun event. Though separated by the Merrimack River, a boat will ferry people back and forth to visit the trails. For more information about this event, go to this website.


Sculpture along Newburyport's Clipper City Trail, part of the Border to Boston Trail / ECG. Photo by David Read


New England Bike-Walk Summit


Save the Date! The ECGA is proud to support the first-ever New England Bike-Walk Summit, a full-day affair on Thursday, October 7 in scenic, historic downtown Providence, RI. A broad range of topics, of interest to professionals in private practice, grassroots advocates, agency personnel, and retailers, will be addressed. Included will be panels discussing the economic development potential of biking & walking; the relationship between advocates & agency personnel; how to encourage greater walking and biking for transportation and health; sources, process, and expectations regarding project funding; connecting underserved communities with the bike-ped movement; and much more! The day will finish with a guided walk of walking facilities in scenic downtown Providence, to be followed by a reception. Special thanks to the sponsors to date: Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor, Charlotte Foundation, Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, SRAM, and the Farmington Valley Trails Council.

More information will be available through ECGA as it is prepared. Questions can be directed to ECGA's Trail Program Coordinator, Eric Weis.

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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.

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We look forward to hearing from you!


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