August 2013

In This Issue...

Greetings from the Director

National News

  • We're Hiring a New England Coordinator!
  • The ELF has Landed
  • Annual Members' Meeting, Oct. 26th in Raleigh, NC
  • Call for Volunteers

Spotlight

  • 2013 Week a Year Tour

ECG In the News

  • New York Times, Boston Globe, and More

Regional News: All Regions

  • New England Bike Walk Summit and Other Great Events, Oct. 4-6
  • Discover Hartford Tour, Sept. 21
  • Upcoming Events and Bike Rides in the Mid-Atlantic
  • ATT Bridge Grand Opening October 12th
  • Closing the Gaps in Florida




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Greetings from ECGA Executive Director, Dennis Markatos-Soriano

Dear East Coast Greenway teammates,

This issue is full of exciting developments from growing our staff, to our most successful Week a Year bike tour yet, to record media coverage. The ECG's future is bright, thanks to all of you!

Enjoy the last little bit of summer,

Dennis Markatos-Soriano

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National ECGA News
We're Hiring in New England!

Yes, we just hired a South Atlantic Coordinator (who we'll introduce you to next month), and we're excited to take the next step in our organization's development. We're hiring a New England Trail Coordinator to help grow the ECG Maine through Connecticut! This person will be involved in all aspects of ECG trail development, State Committee/volunteer engagement as well as some fundraising in the region. As we posted on Facebook and Twitter a few weeks back, applications are due 8/31 - please see the job description and how to apply here: http://greenway.org/pdf/NewEnglandCoordinatorJobPosting2013.pdf

The ELF Has Landed

At the end of July, one of our donors, Mark Stewart of Cambridge, MA, rode an ELF, a revolutionary pedal-powered vehicle, from North Carolina back home to Massachusetts. He purchased the ELF, made by Organic Transit of Durham, NC, and instead of paying shipping costs to get it home, decided to take it on an adventure on the ECG! (You can see video of Mark in the ELF in this piece in the Huffington Post.)

Mark rode it 1,000 miles, mostly following the ECG, except where he needed to shorten the route due to his battery charge, or adjust for areas where the vehicle was too wide to fit on a greenway section. Friends, ECG members, and warmshowers.org folks (a couch-surfing site for touring cyclists) hosted him throughout his stay.

Elf in VA

Stopping at a restaurant in South Hill, Virginia. Photo by Justin Kerns, Tourism Director, Mecklenburg County, VA.

Mark went about 60 miles a day, one day pushing 90 miles, which required him to recharge the electric-assist battery three times during the day! He arrived back home on August 4th, after several adventurous weeks on the road. While on the trip, Mark stopped at a variety of events, talking about the ELF and the ECG. Mark was also interviewed by the media along the way, including the New York Times , Boston Globe, Associated Press, and Public Radio.

We are so glad Mark enjoyed his journey, and we really appreciate him spreading the word about the ECG! All the media attention led to record traffic to our website and generated increased awareness of the ECG project. We are working to ensure that this translates into more great trail designations and construction. Here's more media about Mark's tour, and you can also read more in his blog at http://orasfarasiget.com/.

Car Talk: Pedaling the ELF to Cambridge

Mother Nature Network: Man Zooms up East Coast on a Solar-Powered Bike-Car Thing

Calgary Herald: Car-Bicycle Blend Making Trip Along East Coast

Annual Members' Meeting in Raleigh, Oct. 26th

All ECGA members are invited to participate in our annual Members' meeting, which will be held in Raleigh, NC, in conjunction with our State of the Greenway Summit and Trail Council Meeting on Saturday, October 26th. Current members can vote on Trustees and proposed By-laws changes. (Members who cannot attend will be able to vote by proxy.) Look for more information in next month's E-news!

In addition to the State of the Greenway Summit, Trail Council, and Members' Meeting, there will be a 50-mile bike ride from Durham to Raleigh on Friday, October 25th, to kick of the weekend's activities. More details to come next month and on our Facebook page!

Call for Volunteers

Want to help the East Coast Greenway Alliance by volunteering? We would love to have your support at several upcoming events! Please email debbie@greenway.org if you'd like to help with events in NC, including:

The ATT Bridge Grand Opening in Durham (Saturday, October 12th)
ECG Bike Ride Durham to Raleigh (Friday, October 25th)
The ECG State of the Greenway Summit and meetings in Raleigh (Saturday, October 26th)
We are also looking for volunteers to provide membership support in our office in Durham.

Please email eric@greenway.org if you want to help with any of the events coming up in Providence, RI, including:

The New England Bike Walk Summit (Friday, October 4th, shifts 9 am to 5 pm)
The New England Builders Ball (Friday, October 4th, 7 pm - 10 pm)
The Gran Fondo New England  (Sunday, October 6th, shifts all day)

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ECG Spotlight - Week a Year Tour 2013 Rolls from CT to PA
42 Riders, 4 states, 7 days on the ECG

Heading out

Board Chair David Read and Executive Director Dennis Markatos-Soriano
welcome riders at the start of the Week a Year tour
.

The 2013 Week a Year Tour started out on August 18th on a beautiful day in Hartford, CT. Forty-two people rode the ECG from Hartford to Philadelphia, a distance of over 300 miles. Along the way they travelled some of the most beautiful and interesting sections of the ECG and met with community and trail leaders.

The riders hailed from 10 states along the ECG, mostly from New England and the Mid-Atlantic. Almost half the group were women, and most of the riders were over 50, with one wonderful lady who is 90!

90 years young

90 years young and still rolling! Barbara rode a tandem with her husband during the tour.

Judy, a tour participant from Connecticut, said after the ride, "At 66 years of age, I feel better than I have for a long time." Judy trained for the tour, starting by riding a few miles and gradually increasing the distances she could bike at a time. "I started out two months ago, winded after riding five miles and walking up hills. I didn't walk a single hill during the ECG bike ride, comfortably completed the sixty mile days, and lost twenty pounds to boot."

Between Hartford and Philadelphia, the ECG route is 40% on greenways, including the historic Farmington Canal Heritage Trail in CT, the scenic Hudson River Greenway in NY, and the 36-mile Delaware and Raritan Canal Trail in New Jersey. The tour also rode some of the newest sections of ECG greenways including the new Penn Street Trail in Philadelphia, and the innovative, if gritty, section from Jersey City to Newark over the New Jersey Meadowlands alongside Route 9.

Flower Bridge in CT

On the "Flower Bridge" in Simsbury, CT.

The Week a Year tours began two years ago starting at the Canadian border in Maine, and are covering a 300-350 mile section of our route each year, heading south until we reach the Florida Keys! These are essentially working tours for our staff and key volunteers. This year half of our Board and several of our Trail Council or ECG state committee members rode with or participated in the tour. Trail Coordinator Eric Weis notes "For staff, this is an invaluable opportunity to evaluate sections of the route which we may not have seen in a few years."

The tour also gives our staff and organization leads the opportunity to meet with community leaders along the way. This year they met with the Mayors of Stamford, CT, and New Brunswick, NJ, as well as leaders of Bike Walk Connecticut, the Farmington Valley Trails Council, and the Farmington Canal Rail-to-Trail Association.

Meeting w mayor of stamford

ECGA staff and key volunteers from CT meet with Michael Pavia, Mayor of Stamford, CT.

While in Connecticut, the ECGA team met with key government officials who are influential with starting the Merritt Parkway Trail which, when built, will take cyclists and all non-motorized users 37 miles from Milford, CT to Westchester County, New York. The group also met with Rutgers University Professor John Pucher, a world-renowned transportation planning expert and author of City Cycling, to share a meal and discuss greenway development. You can learn more about Professor Pucher's work here.

In addition to the other benefits of the tours, they are fundraisers, where participants raise or donate funds to support development of the ECG. This year participants raised or donated at least $500 each, for a total of over $33,000. Top fundraisers were Bob Russo from NJ, Bob Spiegelman from NH, and Dan Rappoport from NJ. Kudos to them, and thank you to everyone who donated or fundraised for the ECG, or who contributed to someone's tour!

In Philly

Tour riders at the "Rocky Steps" in Philadelphia. Photo courtesy of Barbara Amodio.

The tours wouldn't happen without a lot of hard work by volunteers. THANK YOU to our volunteer organizing committee who started planning things last year, and to all the folks in the communities the tour went through who supported us. These included: Mitchell Dodge in Simsbury, CT, for hosting the barbecue; Farmington Canal Rail-to-Trail Association for hosting dinner in New Haven, CT; Koenig Russo Associates and Carl Podwoski for sponsoring the reception in NYC; and Board member Elizabeth Brody for hosting the reception in NYC.

The dates for next year's tour, which will go from Philadelphia to Fredericksburg, VA, are tentatively set for October 5th - 11th, 2014. Stay tuned for more information on our website and in our E-news this winter!

See more photos of the tour here on our Facebook page.

Read news articles about the tour: Canton Patch, CT: ECG Bike Tour Passes Through Farmington Valley
The Hartford Courant: ECG Ride Stops in Farmington to Highlight Trail

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ECG In the News

New York Times Wheels Blog: Navigating the Greenway in an Electric Bicycle Car

The Boston Globe: A Vehicle to Pedal Off Your Carbon Footprints

USA Today: Several ECG Trails Listed as Top Urban Bike Trails in the USA

NH Union Leader: Memoria Bridge Opens

The Hartford Courant: RI's East Bay Bike Path a Scenic, Energizing Daycation

Hartford Courant: Close the Gaps in the Farmington Heritage Greenway

New Haven Independent: Signs Point the Way Calais to Key West

New Haven Independent: Canal Trail Will Now Link to Water

Jacksonville.com, FL: Bicyclists Ride to Save the Ferry

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Regional News: All Regions
Four Great Events in Providence, RI, Oct. 4 - 6

Providence, RI will again be the epicenter of the bike/walk universe on the weekend of October 4-5-6, and the East Coast Greenway Alliance is a key player! 

The New England Bike-Walk Summit returns on Friday, Oct. 4, from 9 am to 5 pm, for a full day of information, education, and networking (click here to download the current draft agenda and here to register for the conference).

That evening, ECGA is the fundraising beneficiary of the New England Builders' Ball, a handbuilt bicycle show highlighting framebuilders from the northeast. 

That Sunday will see the first-ever Gran Fondo New England, and ECGA is the official charity for that event too. Of course, all of these great events are tied together with the Providence Cyclocross Festival: three days of world-class bike racing, with a huge expo, bike swap, a beer garden, and great food.  So make a long weekend of it in Providence, Oct 4-6!

New England Bike Walk Summit

New England Builders Ball

Discover Hartford Tour, Sept. 21

Discover Hartford

Bike Walk Connecticut, ECGA's strong ally in the Nutmeg State, has a great event coming up on September 21! The Discover Hartford Tour offers bike tours of Hartford's historic downtown and public parks and also the metro area, of 10, 25, or 40 miles.

Watch the short video to see some of the landscape and hear from past participants, and click this link to register! Special added bonus: Envisionfest, Hartford's free capital city festival with live music and countless vendors, follows the tour!

Bridge Opening Re-Connects the ECG Between NH and ME

Memorial Bridge

Bike rides from NH and ME led to the opening ceremony August 8th.

On August 8th, we celebrated the opening of the new Memorial Bridge connecting Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and Kittery, Maine! Walkers and cyclists came from both Maine and New Hampshire and met in the middle for the ceremony, attended by hundreds of people. Governor Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire and US DOT Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez spoke during the ceremony, and US Senators from NH and ME attended the celebration.

Memorial Bridge Opening

Enjoying the newly opened Memorial Bridge. Photos by Truda Bloom

This critical link in the East Coast Greenway was closed in 2011 when the former bridge was closed and demolished prior to construction of the new span. Read more about the project and see photos of construction at www.memorialbridgeproject.com. Read more about the opening ceremony and the new bridge in these articles in the NH Union Leader and Seacoastonline.

Upcoming Bike Rides and Events in the Mid-Atlantic

Sunday, October 6th, Ciclovia: New Brunswick, NJ, 10 AM to 3 PM.  Come to the open streets of New Brunswick and enjoy a day of cycling.  http://www.newbrunswickciclovia.com/ Visit us at the East Coast Greenway tent for a bottle of fresh spring water. 

Sun, October 13: 6th Annual Hudson Loop Bike Ride. Sponsored by the New York and New Jersey ECG Committees, this ride will showcase the wonderful trails along the Hudson River on both the New York and New Jersey sides. The vistas are some of the best urban views along the trail. Free, must be an ECGA member. Register for the ride (and you can join at a special event rate if not yet a member) here: http://ecgny2013.eventbrite.com 

See the sights on the Hudson Loop Ride! Photo by Elizabeth Brody

World Trade Center Memorial
ATT Bridge Grand Opening in Durham, NC, Oct. 12th
Please join us on Saturday, October 12th for the ATT Bridge Grand Opening! The event will be held at the Streets of Southpoint (behind the cinemas) from 9 to 11 AM. Speakers will include the Durham Mayor Bill Bell, US Representative David Price, NC Department of Transportation Secretary Tony Tata, and the ECGA's Dennis Markatos-Soriano. Look for us at the ECGA tent! Read more about the event here.
Closing More Gaps in Florida

A 5.5-mile section of spine route, begun earlier this year north from the Palm Beach County line to the south entrance of big Jonathan Dickinson State Park, will be finished before the end of 2013.

Schedules have been announced for completion of two sections of spine route through the east side of Volusia County that will close the gap between Edgewater (just south of New Smyrna Beach) and the Brevard County line (north of Titusville). A 3.7-mile section south from Edgewater will be ready by the end of 2014, and a southernmore 13.5-mile section that reaches the Brevard line expected during 2017-2018.
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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 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.


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