January 2014

In This Issue...

Greetings from the Director

  • Hope and a Resolution

National News

  • Save the Date for our Spring Greenway Summit in Boston, April 25-26!
  • ECG Director Presents at TEDx Raleigh
  • Summer Internship Available at ECG HQ Office

Spotlight

  • Susquehanna River Crossing - Help Us Overcome One of the ECG's Greatest Challenges!

ECG In the News

  • Great Newspaper Articles and Videos

Regional News: All Regions

  • Farmington Canal Heritage Trail Closing Largest Gap
  • New Jersey Bike & Walk Summit, Feb. 8th
  • ECG Route in Eastern NC Gets Support from Piedmont Natural Gas
  • More ECG Signs in Raleigh, NC
  • SC ECG State Committee Ramping Up!
  • Celebrating Seabranch Trail Opening in Stuart, FL




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Greetings from ECGA Executive Director, Dennis Markatos-Soriano

Hope & A Resolution

Dear East Coast Greenway teammates,

The year 2014 just might become the best year in the history of the East Coast Greenway. Our capacity is rising and the project is marching forward on the strength of both inspiring stories of progress and compelling data backing them up.

We are building a new America that is healthier and more sustainable. Our communities, states, and national leaders are investing in a better future. You may have seen the horrific levels of pollution hitting many Chinese cities right now as their roads clog with cars. By completing our 2,900-mile biking and walking corridor through cities from Maine to Florida, we can provide a model infrastructure project for nations around the world aiming to develop responsibly.

I am very hopeful as we begin 2014. My main resolution is to work with YOU more. We have over 20,000 people like you receiving our updates and yet we often don't fully mobilize the whole team in our effort. We will aim to engage you more, asking your assistance at important public hearings in your region and state, at opportunities to raise Greenway awareness, and when we need to convey key messages to elected leaders throughout the corridor.

I’m excited to enjoy what we achieve together this year!

Toward a Healthy & Sustainable Future,

Dennis Markatos-Soriano

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National ECGA News
ECG State of the Greenway Summit in Boston, MA, April 25-26

Save the date for our next State of the Greenway Summit and Trail Council meetings! This exciting weekend will be in Boston, Massachusetts. On Friday, April 25th, we'll hold a bike ride and reception to kick off the events. Our State of the Greenway Summit and Trail Council meetings are 9AM to 5PM on Saturday, April 26th. Stay tuned for more details, coming soon. We hope to see you in Boston!

Want to volunteer for any of the weekend events? Please email our New England Coordinator, Molly Henry, at molly@greenway.org.

Northbank Bridge

ECG Featured at TEDx Talk

Executive Director Dennis Markatos-Soriano recently gave an inspiring TEDx talk about the East Coast Greenway. Check it out here!

Summer Internship Available with the ECG!

We have a paid Summer internship opportunity in our Durham, NC headquarters office. If interested, please apply by Feb 3rd! Learn more and to apply!

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ECG Spotlight - the Susquehanna River
The East Coast Greenway's Greatest Challenge - and How to Overcome It!

Our 2,900-mile National Millennium Trail connects 15 states and more than two dozen major cities throughout the Eastern seaboard. There are many challenges to completing the trail (now 29% off-road on greenways), but one rises high above the rest: crossing the Susquehanna River. Did you know that in the state of Maryland there is no safe way to cross the Susquehanna on foot or by bike? The closest safe crossing is in Pennsylvania, over 23 miles upstream from Havre de Grace, Maryland. With your help, we can change that.

Susqehanna River

Looking north (upstream) at the four spans near the mouth of the river, from near to far: Amtrak, US Route 40, freight rail, I-95. Credit: Ben Longstaff, IAN, UMCES

There are presently four crossings in the river's southernmost stretch, two for autos and two for rail, and none permit bikes or pedestrians. One of these (Amtrak's Susquehanna River Bridge) was completed in 1906, and is one of the most significant bottlenecks in Amtrak's Northeast Corridor. The Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) has been awarded $22 million to design this bridge's replacement. This is a great first step, but it doesn't guarantee that bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure will be built; we all know that when cost projections start rising, bike and ped features are often the first to be cut.

The 2035 Maryland Transportation Plan and the Draft Maryland Twenty-Year Bicycle & Pedestrian Master Plan set strong goals for enhancing non-motorized transportation in Maryland. This bridge, if properly designed and built with accommodation for walkers and cyclists, will be proof positive that MDOT walks the talk.

Please join the East Coast Greenway Alliance as we urge MDOT to build a bridge that will serve multiple modes, connecting communities by rail, bike, and foot, for the next 100 years. Together we can make our voices heard as we call for healthy and sustainable transportation infrastructure for the 21st century.

How Can YOU Help?

Many separate voices have much less strength than a single, strong, focused voice. Together we can make a difference. Join in this effort, have your voice heard. Please sign this petition to support bicyclist and pedestrian access to the new bridge. Please also contact our Mid-Atlantic Coordinator, Andy Hamilton (andy@greenway.org) for more ways to get involved.

We'll provide updates as the new Amtrak bridge project progresses. Together, we can provide safe pedestrian and cyclist access across the Susquehanna River in Maryland, so that people using all modes can enjoy this beautiful and important waterway.

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ECG In the News

Recent News Articles and videos about the ECG!

Rails to Trails Blog: Historic African-American Community, Armstrong Aims to Become Florida's Next Trail Town.

Daytona Beach News-Journal, Florida: Final Funding Secured for Volusia Rail Trail

Florida Today: Beachfront Trail Proposed in Cocoa Beach

News and Observer, Raleigh, NC: I-40 Footbridge (update: the bridge fencing is now installed and the bridge is very near completion - look for pics. in our next E-news!)

Hometown.com: Proposal would add Halstead, NY to ECG

ECG Director Presents at TEDx Raleigh (Video)

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Regional News: All Regions
Connecticut’s Farmington Canal Heritage Trail to Close Largest Gap

The Farmington Canal Heritage Trail (FCHT) is one of Connecticut's most treasured recreational trails. Stretching approximately 80 miles from New Haven, CT, to Northampton, MA, the East Coast Greenway utilizes over half of the FCHT to make the connection from Simsbury to New Haven.

With the start of the New Year, the town of Plainville, CT, received a state grant to fund design for the 9 mile gap between Southington to Plainville. Construction dates are yet to be determined, but once complete, the FCHT will have closed its largest gap. The momentum is strong and the state's commitment to completing the FCHT is most evident. 

Farmington Valley Canal Trail logo
New Jersey Bike & Walk Summit, Feb. 8th

We are really excited for the New Jersey Bike & Walk Summit, hosted by the New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition, coming up on Saturday, February 8th in New Brunswick, NJ. (Read more about the Summit, and register here.)

Please come visit with ECG State Committee during our lunch meeting at the Summit, and find out how to get more involved with the ECG. The NJ Committee ROCKS, and is working hard on its goal of creating a 100% off-road trail from the Ben Franklin Bridge in Camden to the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee!

We hope to see you there!

Eastern NC ECG Gets Support from Piedmont Natural Gas

With support from Piedmont Natural Gas, we are excited to announce the launch of the Healthy & Sustainable Communities program, with a focus on the Eastern North Carolina region of our route. Piedmont distributes natural gas to more than 1 million residential and business customers in North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.

The Healthy & Sustainable Communities program will focus on the towns along our Historic Coastal Route and Fayetteville, NC. ECGA will work with our partner communities to encourage active transportation and support for further greenway development. More information on bike rides and other activities are coming soon. Contact Niles Barnes (niles@greenway.org) to get involved! 

More ECG Signs in Raleigh, NC

Signage progress continues in the Triangle region of North Carolina!

North Carolina State University is partnering with ECGA to install trail markers on the Rocky Branch Trail going through its campus and connecting with the House Creek Greenway. ECG trail markers are also now installed in downtown Raleigh!

ECG signs near Rocky Branch Trail in Raleigh, NC

ecg signs raleigh nc
South Carolina ECG State Committee Ramps Up! Meeting Feb. 11

We have some great ECG events coming up in South Carolina, including our Fall State of the Greenway Summit in Charleston, Nov. 7 - 8, and we are gearing up! We'd love to have YOU get involved with our ECG efforts in SC.

On Tuesday, February 11th, the South Carolina ECG State committee will host its inaugural meeting at the Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments offices from 10 AM to 12:30 PM. The address is 1362 McMillan Ave, Suite 100, North Charleston, SC.

The purpose of the meeting is to review ECG progress in the regions along the coast, introduce new committee members and ECGA staff liaison Niles Barnes, discuss working with stakeholders throughout the state, and plan for the ECG Summit being held in Charleston in November. We'll also look at next steps for education, routing and fundraising.

We hope to see you there! Please email Niles Barnes at niles@greenway.org for more info or to get involved with our work in South Carolina.

Celebrating the Seabranch Trail Completion, Jan. 23

Please join us to celebrate the dedication of the Seabranch Trail on Thursday, Jan. 23rd at 2 PM. We are very excited about this beautiful new trail section, just under 3 miles long, that goes through the Seabranch Preserve State Park in Martin County, Florida.

invitation

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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 2,900-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 donating today.

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.


Copyright 2014 East Coast Greenway Alliance

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