Cross-posting from the Dodge Foundation blog here.
The East Coast Greenway, a 3,000-mile network of multi-use paths from the Maine border with Canada to Key West, Florida, was just a dream 15 short years ago. Now, thanks to leading states like New Jersey, a corridor for walkers, joggers, bicyclists and the like connects cities and communities throughout the East Coast.
An “urban Appalachian Trail,”the East Coast Greenway provides both a green recreational network and a low-cost daily commuter path between neighborhoods, workplaces, landmarks, and schools. The project’s leading advocate is the East Coast Greenway Alliance, a long-time partner of the Dodge Foundation. The Alliance plans to move its headquarters to New Jersey in the coming year while maintaining regional staff situated within New England, the Mid-Atlantic, and the South. On top of its four and a half staff, the Alliance has a base of over 8,000 members and volunteers — many of whom live throughout the Garden State.
The past year has brought record growth for the East Coast Greenway’s (ECG) trails, adding over 100 miles or 20%. Thanks to such growth, the ECG is already 26% off-road, separated from car traffic. We aim to, over the next decade, upgrade the safety and accessibility of the remaining 74% (on-road portion) of the 3,000 miles by fully signing it and either converting it to off-road trail or integrating bike lanes, wide shoulders and other amenities.
New Jersey is setting the bar high for other states. Our state is the most developed in terms of signage – over 90 miles of signs mark the East Coast Greenway between the Delaware River and the Hudson River. And New Jersey is one of the three states among our fifteen whose route is at least 50% off-road greenway. We also host the second longest stretch of continuous greenway on the ECG, 35 miles of the beautiful D&R canal towpath from Trenton to New Brunswick.