September 2012

In This Issue...

Greetings from the Director

  • Something We Can All Agree On

National News

  • Congratulations to our Breezer Bike Drawing Winner!
  • ECG National Meeting in Richmond Nov. 17

Spotlight

  • 2012 Week a Year Tour Explores Portland to Hartford

ECGA In the News

  • Great Newspaper Articles and More

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

  • New England Builders Ball Oct. 5th
  • What is the Hartford iQuilt?
  • Guide to "Getting Where You Want to Go" in CT

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

  • Middlesex Greenway Connects 3 Communities in NJ
  • Greenway Opening in Delaware

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

  • NC Bike Summit Oct. 12-13
  • Ales for Rail-Trails 5K, Durham, NC Oct. 14th
  • Georgia-South Carolina Bike Summit October 19-21

Regional News: Southeast (GA, FL)

  • Halifax Greenway Moving Forward in Florida
  • Bike Rides Showcase St. Johns River Ferry




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

Staff
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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Greetings from ECGA Executive Director, Dennis Markatos-Soriano

Something We Can All Agree On

Dear East Coast Greenway teammates,

In election season, when our country can get more polarized about a range of issues, it's nice to work on a project that fosters unity. Our vision of a safe and accessible linear park for everyone from children to seniors connects with core values in all Americans. We are helping people improve their health and lower their transportation bills.

As you can see in the articles below, we continue to make great strides toward our goal. All Americans benefit when road traffic is reduced by more greenway trips on bikes and by foot -- whether they be drivers in a long commute or parents trying to keep their child's asthma under control. All Americans can get inspired by tours on the ECG -- further connecting with our nation’s rich history and diverse communities. And all Americans can appreciate our space that empowers a couple walking through Maine now on their way to Florida to support military families in need.

While the push and pull of politics will continue into the future, our momentum will also continue to grow as long as we communicate these core values that resonate with our family, friends, and neighbors. Please consider forwarding this email to folks and spreading the word about the daily discussions growing on our Facebook page and Twitter.

Together, we are building a sustainable & healthy America,

 

Dennis Markatos-Soriano

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National ECGA News
Congratulations to Our Breezer Bike Winner!
Congratulations to Angie Vieth of North Carolina, who was the winner of a brand new Breezer bicycle! Breezer Bikes generously donated a Greenway DX bike to us for a drawing during the recent Cabot Community Tour. About 500 people entered their names at our ECG booths at events along the tour from Miami to Maine.

Angie was thrilled to win the drawing as her beloved old road bike was no longer rideable. She has enjoyed riding again with her husband and young son - they started with a nice ride on the ECG in Durham! Angie says "The bike feels great, and it's gorgeous to boot! I really am excited about having a reliable vehicle again." We hope you and your family enjoy many fun rides on the ECG and beyond, Angie!

Thank you so much to Breezer for your support of our organization and to Durham Cycles of Durham, NC for assembling the bike and fitting it for Angie!

Breezer bike winner

Angie and her new bike with Dennis of the ECGA and David of Durham Cycles.

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

Everyone is invited to join us in Richmond, Virginia for our next Trail Council meeting! Our next E-newsletter will include nominations of new trustees.

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 Trail Council 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.)

We have a discounted hotel rate available Friday and Saturday nights at the Holiday Inn Express in downtown Richmond, 201 East Cary Street, 804-788-1600. Let them know you're coming to the East Coast Greenway meeting for the special rate - the online discount code is ECG.

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ECG Spotlight - ECG Bike Tour from Portland to Hartford

Week a Year Tour grou year 2

2012 Week a Year Tour Group at the start of the tour. Photo by Truda Bloom.

In August, 35 cyclists joined our New England and Mid-Atlantic Coordinators for our second annual tour to explore the the ECG from Maine to Florida, a week at at time. This year participants did the tour as a fundraiser for the ECGA, and they all donated or fundraised a minimum of $500 for our organization. Everyone who contributed to someone's ride became a member, so we not only raised over $25,000 but grew by over 100 new members!

The Week a Year tours are not only an excellent opportunity to see the ECG, but they are working tours that allow our staff and volunteers to get critical on-the-ground knowledge of the route and conditions, and connect with local residents and officials in communities along the trail. Everyone will benefit from their ride in the upcoming year as more ECG signs are placed and we work to get our route available on GPS.

possum on eric

Eric possum

In addition to our other hard work during the tour, the ECGA also saved some wildlife! Trail Coordinator Eric Weis rescued a baby possum in Sudbury, MA after its mother had been hit by a car. (The little possum was taken to a wildlife rehab center later by a kind volunteer.)

Photos by Luiz Vitoria and Eric Weis.

THANK YOU to everyone who attended the tour, donated to someone's tour, and to the fantastic volunteer organizing committee who worked hard all year to make the tour such a great success!

2012 Tour a Huge Success!

by David Read, ECGA Board Chair

Our second annual Week a Year tour held this past August was a huge success! The tour series began last year with 25 riders cycling in Maine from the ECG northern gateway in Calais to Portland. This year's group of 37 riders picked up where we left off in Portland and rode over 400 miles in seven days to Hartford, Connecticut.

We biked the ECG route in five states: Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. The route we explored this year is a microcosm of the varied trail surfaces of the entire ECG: paved, stone-dust, and rougher trail in some places.

The Week a Year tour is not a luxury cycling vacation like some of the rides offered by tour companies. We rode between 40 and 65 miles a day, many on hybrid bikes or road bikes with wider tires due to the varied trail surfaces.

These are also working tours, and throughout the ride staff and volunteers tweaked the computer generated cue sheets, identified places needing signs, and tested out electronic files of the route on a handlebar-mounted Garmin GPS.

Bridge crossing

Enjoying the ride through scenic Massachusetts. Photo by Jim Sharpe.

During the week we rode on some newly completed sections of the ECG, including the North Bank bridge in Boston which opened in July. This bridge dramatically improves our route by going over ten sets of train tracks and eliminating a bit of confusing routing, and it links Paul Revere Park in Charlestown with the new North Point Park in Cambridge. In Andover, Connecticut we rode over another unique bridge, the new Hop River Trail covered bridge. This is the first covered bridge along our route, and it connects two very pretty sections of off-road trail.

Several times during tour we were met by local officials and supporters of the East Coast Greenway. In Danvers, Massachusetts, Kate Day, the town planner who has been working on their section of the ECG, set up a water stop along the trail and handed out specially made Rail-Trail Root Beer! (Find out where you can purchase these yummy Rail-Trail beverages here, and help raise funds for trail completion in Danvers.)

Trail Root beer

David Read and Steven Mitchell enjoying Rail-Trail Root Beers!

At the end of the ride, Hartford Connecticut's Mayor Segarra welcomed us with appetizers and a DJ at a celebration for the riders. And this year ECGA members had the opportunity to join us on several day rides during the week. Over a dozen cyclists met us in Newburyport, MA to ride with us to Boston, and on the last day over twenty ECG members in Connecticut cycled with us into Hartford.

Planning has begun for next year's ride, and we'll announce details when they are available.

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ECGA In the News

Sacramento Bee, CA: REI Grants Update Features ECG

Bangor Daily News: Strong Greenway Progress in Maine

Hartford Bike Beat, CT: ECG Comes to Hartford

Bangor Daily News, ME: Couple Begins 3,000-mile Hike for Heroes

Middlesex Greenway Dedication

Record Journal, CT: Strong Greenway Progress in CT

WOBM.com, NJ: Doctor Bikes for Children's Cancer on ECG

Encore Online, NC: Biking the ECG in Wilmington, NC

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Regional News: New England
New England Builders Ball Comes to Providence, RI Oct. 5th

This hand-built bike show returns to Providence for the second straight year, again a fundraiser for the East Coast Greenway! The New England Builders Ball will showcase the work of over a dozen regional bike builders working in steel, aluminum, and titanium (we're waiting to hear from a carbon frame builder). Add live music, a cash bar, and a bike-geek trivia contest with cool prizes, and this is shaping up to be a great party! Admission is only $3.

Come on down and have a chat with the folks who want to construct your next touring, utility, road, cross, or mountain bike, and stick around to enjoy world-class bike racing at the Providence Cyclocross Festival that Saturday and Sunday.

NE Builders Ball

What is the Hartford iQuilt?

Cities all over the world are addressing livability issues, sometimes dramatically, sometimes with baby steps. Hartford has chosen to make a bold statement, and is integrating the East Coast Greenway into the plan. Already funded with over $10 million, the "iQuilt" will connect the city center and Bushnell Park with the Connecticut River for walkers and cyclists. Bushnell park is the oldest publicly-funded park in the country, and it (along with the rest of downtown) has long been separated from the Connecticut River by a riverside interstate highway. The project will narrow streets, create new pathways and public open space, and uncover the Park River which has been underground in conduits since the 1940's. You can learn a lot more about this great plan, and how the ECG is integrated, at the project website.

"Getting Where You Want to Go" Guide in CT

The Connecticut League of Conservation Voters, a bi-partisan statewide education and advocacy environmental non-profit, has just released a new transportation guide. "Getting Where You Want To Go" is now available free online here. This guide is intended to engage and inform citizens and policymakers on multi-modal transportation to benefit the environment and the economy. We completely agree with their recommendations to make walking and biking easier and safer by investing in multi-use trails that connect our cities and towns. And we appreciate their emphasis on completing the East Coast Greenway!

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Regional News: Mid Atlantic
Middlesex Greenway Connects 3 Communities in NJ

The Middlesex Greenway which runs between Woodbridge, Metuchen, and Edison in Northern New Jersey officially opened with a ribboncutting ceremony on September 15th. This former railroad corridor has been transformed into a 3.5-mile-long trail, with its pedestrian and bicycle bridge over US Route 1 dramatically connecting a tranquil forest with wetlands.

Middlesex Greenway opening

Speakers at the opening ceremony included the mayors of all three towns, county and municipal agency staff who worked on the greenway over the past decade, and US Senator Robert Menendez. This project was built by the County of Middlesex in partnership with local municipalities. The project utilized some federal stimulus funds designated for transportation enhancements. Our work on this and other trails in New Jersey was made possible by generous support from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation.

The Middlesex Greenway demonstrates the importance to the East Coast Greenway of local civic initiative. Such local trails form the links that we can string together to become our Greenway.

ECGA Trustee and former NJ State Committee Chair Elizabeth Brody provided us with some background on the process to complete this greenway:

In 2003, Annette Schultz and Mike Dannemiller of the RBA Group, under contract with the NJDOT, undertook a "Northern New Jersey Route Location Study" for the East Coast Greenway. At a planning meeting with stakeholders in Middlesex County, we were trying to select a northeasterly route when we came across an abandoned rail corridor that local champions Walter Stochel (of the Middlesex Greenway Coalition) and Bob Takash (of the Edison Greenways Group) were trying to convert into a hiking and bicycling trail.

We had to decide whether to incorporate the rail corridor, which unfortunately ran east-west, to gain several miles of off-road route. We did -- which is why the ECG takes a sharp 1.5-mile jog to the west, before continuing northeast.

Walter and Bob and their organizations worked steadily for almost two decades to build support for converting the rail corridor into a greenway. They organized Eco-Tours, trail clean-ups and fairs; advocated with governments for funding and design; developed a cadre of local supporters; and worked with national groups including the ECGA.

The Middlesex Greenway is the 12,000th mile of converted rail-trail according to our friends at the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. And 1.5 miles were designated last May as part of the East Coast Greenway. Tireless Walter and Bob now work to extend the Greenway west to South Plainfield and east to the Perth Amboy waterfront.

Congratulations to our partners who have worked so hard on the Middlesex Greenway trail over the years!

New Trail Opens in Delaware

The Pomeroy and Newark Rail Trail opened this month in Delaware. This new 2-mile long trail is a connector from the East Coast Greenway to the central business district of Newark and all of its many vibrant services. The ECG's Bobbi Britton, Heather Dunigan and Andy Hamilton were at the opening for this exceptional new trail. Governor Markell, US Senator Carper, Transportation Secretary Bhatt and Environment Secretary O'Mara were among the dignitaries speaking at the opening ceremony.

Many thanks to the organizations that worked to complete this trail section, including the City of Newark, DelDOT, DNREC, Delaware State Parks, and WILMAPCO.

Ribboncutting in Delaware

Preparing to cut the ribbon on the Pomeroy and Newark Rail Trail

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Regional News: South Atlantic
North Carolina Bike Summit, October 12 - 13

Register today for NC's first bicycle summit, coming up in Raleigh on October 12-13th! There will be many interesting speakers and workshops with topics ranging from education and public outreach, health and recreation, on-road and off-road facility design and engineering, economic development and creative funding sources.

Dennis Markatos-Soriano will speak on a panel discussion about Greenway Development in North Carolina, and look for the ECGA on the bike ride to explore Raleigh greenways! See here for more information.

Ales for Rail-Trails 5K, Durham, NC Oct. 14

Like beer? Like to run? Want to support a great cause? Our friends North Carolina Rail-Trails are hosting a 5K run on Sunday, October 14th at 4 PM.

This fun event will start and end at Fullsteam Brewery and part of it will be on the ECG in Durham! Read more and register here.

alesforrailstrails
Georgia - South Carolina Bike Summit, October 19-21

Georgia Bikes is hosting the Georgia-lina Bike Summit in Augusta, GA on October 19th - 21st. This two-state, inspiring conference will bring together bicycle advocates, planners, retailers, transportation agencies, elected officials, and others interested in creating more bicycle friendly infrastructure in the South. The Summit's theme is "Bicycle Friendly Across the Borders" as they are bringing together the cycling communities of the Peach State and the Palmetto State.

The conference includes interesting speakers and break-out sessions, in addition to social events and, of course, bike rides! The East Coast Greenway's Dennis Markatos-Soriano will kick off the conference on Friday evening. Read more and register here!

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Regional News: Southeast
Halifax River Greenway Moving Forward in Florida

Greenway Trustee Paul Haydt is leading the initiative for a showcase Halifax River Greenway through a route that encompasses five different municipalities. The route runs most of the way through the east side of Volusia County between Port Orange (south) and Ormond Beach (north). The greenway will extend more than 11 miles and also pass through South Daytona Beach, Daytona Beach and Holly Hill. Daytona Beach and Holly Hill each has a mile of trail along the east shore of the river.

The section through Port Orange is entirely planned and will go to design as part of a riverfront redevelopment that could include a boardwalk section. South Daytona is in an early stage of planning but is conceptually on board. Ormond Beach contains about two miles of trail. We estimate completion by 2020.

Bicycle Rides Showcase St. Johns Ferry, Jacksonville, FL

The North Florida Bicycle Club (NFBC) will begin a series of bicycle rides later this fall from Mayport Village that makes use of the St. Johns River Ferry to continue to Fernandina Beach. The round-trip is 48 miles. (Watch their website or email Clyde Riggs clcar@comcast.net for more information on the ride.)

The ferry faced shutdown October 1 before the City of Jacksonville and the Jacksonville Port Authority each agreed to put up $200,000 to keep the ferry operating for another year. Support from the Florida Department of Transportation remains a possibility but only if save-the-ferry supporters come up with a long-term funding plan. Loss of the link would necessitate a dangerous 30-mile detour for cyclists. Ferry oversight will now pass to a municipal-led St. Johns River Ferry Commission. Hornblower Marine Services continues day-to-day operations.

The NFBC rides are expected to continue about every six weeks according to ride leader Clyde Riggs. The rides are part of a strategy to demonstrate recreational and tourism demand for continued ferry service. The Alliance has also proposed formation of a Heritage Highway A1A Association to generate support from businesses along the route that would help attract FDOT funding.

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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