Regional News and Events: February 2016

Southeast

Photo credit: Ritz-Carlton Residences, Sunny Isles Beach

Photo credit: Ritz-Carlton Residences, Sunny Isles Beach, FL

In South Florida, February marked advances in Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine’s vision for connecting the East Coast Greenway between his city and Fort Lauderdale by coastal greenway. The two cities at the center of the Miami-Dade and Broward County region attract almost 30 million visitors a year. The Greenway would greatly serve these two populous Florida counties and top travel destinations. Sections already in place in Miami Beach and in Hollywood are among the most widely used in Florida.

Miami-Dade’s Haulover Beach Park is a recently-designated ECGA section for which funding is being discussed this month by stakeholders in Miami.

A recent Fort Lauderdale meeting was part of a bi-county series aimed at planning the route through south Broward County, where the U.S. 1 corridor between Dania Beach and Fort Lauderdale’s beach includes a major airport, seaport, industrial zones, and upscale residential areas that constrain route options. Meeting participants included transportation leaders from the City of Fort Lauderdale, FDOT, Broward County MPO, and the ECGA who mapped the Greenway through South Broward County. The group discussed water taxi possibilities, how to connect two state parks, and related route-mapping concerns.


South Atlantic

Proposed Awendaw East Coast Greenway. Map via: Town of Awendaw

Proposed Awendaw East Coast Greenway. Map via: Town of Awendaw

Centrally located along the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor, Awendaw, South Carolina is a unique town on the ECG. It has been designated a pilot community for the partnership between the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commission and the East Coast Greenway Alliance.

On February 4, a public meeting was convened to discuss the community’s proposed 12-mile ECG vision. Coverage of the proposal and the public meeting received coverage from several local news affiliates including News2 and Live5News

Feature ECG story published South Carolina's Santee Cooper. Photo: Santee Cooper.

Feature ECG story published South Carolina’s Santee Cooper. Photo: Santee Cooper

Santee Cooper, South Carolina’s largest power producer, published a great feature on South Carolina’s ECG in its latest Power Source magazine. The article quotes Leigh Kane, Horry County senior planner and SC ECG steering committee co-chair, “The East Coast Greenway can improve the health of South Carolina residents, promote tourism, and improve the quality of life in the communities in which the route travels. As it continues to develop, it will connect daily users and long-distance travelers to communities, nature and an array of historic, cultural, and recreational destinations that our coast has to offer.”

In North Carolina, ECGA South Atlantic Coordinator Niles Barnes recently spoke at the Granville County Greenways Advisory Council meeting in Butner. Working with our partners at the local and state levels we are focused on getting more shared-use trail on the ground with a particular focus on the inactive rail corridor connecting Oxford, NC, to Clarksville, VA.

NC Reedy Creek Detour via Raleigh Parks.

NC Reedy Creek Detour via Raleigh Parks.

Also in North Carolina, Raleigh Parks and Recreation has notified users of a temporary detour resulting from greenway repairs on the Reedy Creek section of ECG near the NC Museum of Art. The reroute is expected to end in June 2016.

In Virginia, the 139-mile ECG Historic Coastal Route is now 46% complete on traffic-separated greenway and trails. (And it includes a ferry ride!) At a recent Hampton Roads Pedestrian & Bicycle Advisory Committee meeting, South Atlantic Coordinator Niles Barnes discussed plans for future ECG expansion and getting more trail on the ground in Surry and Isle of Wight Counties, as well in the cities of Suffolk and Chesapeake. You can explore the route in more detail on our Trip Planner.


Mid Atlantic

In addition to great news regarding the Susquehanna River crossing, Maryland DOT and State Highway Administration have agreed to install East Coast Greenway signs on all state roads. We expect all of Maryland to be signed in 2016.

The Meadowlands have long been an issue for non-motorized transportation between Newark and Jersey City, NJ. The East Coast Greenway Alliance championed the Route 1 and Route 9 connection that was completed five years ago. We appreciate the New Jersey Department of Transportation’s work on that section.

First Working Meeting of the Meadowlands Connector Group.

First Working Meeting of the Meadowlands Connector Group.

Now we are working to achieve a safer route between these two cities: the Meadowlands Connector. Almost 7% of New Jersey’s population lives in the communities of Newark, Jersey City, Kearney and Harrison. The Meadowlands Connector will create an opportunity for over 550,000 people to have a traffic-separated greenway for active commuting and recreation. The development of this greenway means four inches of greenway would need to be built for every person who lives in the four communities.

Saturday & Sunday, February 20 & 21, 2016 – Visit the ECGA booth at the Endurance Sports Expo at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center, 100 Station Avenue, Oaks PA. More information about the expo is available at http://www.endurancesportsexpo.com/.

Saturday, February 27, 2016 – Come to the NJ ECG State Committee lunch at the New Jersey Bike Walk Coalition’s NJ Bike Walk Summit. Reserve your spot by registering at newjerseybikewalk.org.

Thursday, March 31, 2016, 4 – 6 PM – NY State ECG Committee Working Meeting at NYC Parks Dept. “Arsenal West,” 24 W. 61st St., Manhattan. Projects to be advanced include:

  • Four bike rides, including a new tour of National Park Service sites to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the NPS.
  • A social event to spread the word about the ECGA.
  • Gap analysis, to survey conditions of the spine route through NYC.
  • Trail designations along the East River Greenway (ECG complementary route).
  • South Bronx Greenway (ECG complementary route), to foster a safe bike/ped pathway between the Randall’s Island Connector and the Bronx River Greenway.

New England

With sub-zero temperatures in New England, Greenway construction has been quiet. Yet there’s a lot going on behind the scenes. In late January the Connecticut Bonding Commission unanimously passed a $7 million bond to fund the State Parks Trail Program for the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. The bond will help finance planning, design, land acquisition and construction of portions of the East Coast Greenway as well as trailside amenities.

In the Ocean State, the East Coast Greenway Alliance has teamed up with partners state-wide to form a working group called the Rhode Island Paths to Progress Coalition. We are excited to announce that Governor Gina Raimondo recently included $10 million for Paths to Progress in her $35 million Green Economy Bond proposal. If the bond survives the budgeting process and receives approval from Rhode Island voters, funding will go toward closing gaps in the state’s greenway network, including several critical ECG segments.


This blog post appeared in the February 2016 E-Newsletter.

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