Regional News and Events: March 2016

Southeast

Photo: Jekyll Island Authority

GA: In Georgia, Senate Resolution 730, sponsored by Senator William Ligon (R-3), recommends that the Coastal Regional Commission support the implementation of the Coastal Georgia Greenway, a 155 mile coastal bike trail that would create the Georgia segment of the East Coast Greenway. 

SR 730 also encourages the General Assembly to appropriate annual funds to support the Coastal Georgia Greenway, the Coastal Regional Commission, and other state entities. This will help local governments seek and secure additional public and private funding and assist the Department of Transportation in identifying projects that could link to the proposed Coastal Greenway.

SR 730 passed in the Georgia Senate and, has been passed to the House Rules committee, where – if approved – it will go to the floor of the House for a vote. 

St. Johns Ferry, East Coast Greenway

St. Johns River Ferry

FL: A unique designated segment of the East Coast Greenway, the St. Johns River Ferry, connects Duval County’s Timucuan Trail system with our on-road routing through beach towns to the south – Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach, and Jacksonville Beach, FL.

After a being closed for vital repairs, the St. Johns Ferry resumed service on March 9. Without the ferry service, bicyclists needed to take a 40-mile detour through downtown Jacksonville. Big thanks to Friends of the Ferry for their ongoing work to preserve this service.

Miami Riverwalk (foreground), part of the East Coast Greenway. Completion could be funded by a SUN Trail grant from FDOT. Photo: Miami-Dade County

Miami Riverwalk – Photo: Miami-Dade County

A March 31 meeting of the Florida Greenways and Trails Council (FGTC) will decide whether as much as $8 million a year in new, five-year state funding will flow to six counties of the East Coast Greenway.

The ECG is one of seven short-listed regional trail systems eligible for the new SUN Trail funding. Miami-Dade County Department of Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces; Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council; St. Lucie County; and ECGA are leading the team effort. Please show your support for the East Coast Greenway segment receiving this critical support by emailing or calling Brian Ruscher at brian.ruscher@dep.state.fl.us or 850-245-2078 by March 31, 2016.

March also marks completion of a series of bi-county meetings to connect the Greenway between Miami Beach and Fort Lauderdale. Staff recommendations to policy makers will follow. Related to this, the FGTC has already approved a technical change to the state priority trail map to relocate the Greenway crossing of Biscayne Bay from narrow Venetian Causeway to the nearby MacArthur Causeway, which is undergoing redesign. A multi-use path is still not assured.


South Atlantic

SC: Just over two years ago, the Charleston City Council voted 8-5 to open one of the Legare Bridge’s traffic lanes exclusively for biking and walking over the Ashley River. This project is now moving forward. The current crossing of the Ashley River has been a “hot spot” in need of improvement on the East Coast Greenway route for a number of years.

The Legare Bridge stands in stark contrast to the safety and accessibility offered by the immensely successful Cooper River Bridge, also in South Carolina. With our partner organizations and regional leaders, we are focused on a safe crossing of the Ashley River. On March 17, the Post and Courier published ECGA Executive Director Dennis Markatos-Soriano’s Letter to the Editor on the matter.

Model of Future Cary, NC, Greenway, Part of the East Coast Greenway Route

Town of Cary Landscape Architect Joe Godfrey explains the greenway project to citizens.

NC: The Town of Cary, NC, hosted an informative public input meeting on the Black Creek Greenway renovation project. The greenway segment is part of Cary’s ECG designated trail route through NC’s Triangle region.

Over 2 miles of the greenway is to be redesigned to make it wider, safer, and less susceptible to flooding. Additional new trail leading to the existing greenway is also planned. More info is available here.

The Raleigh City Council recently voted 7-1 to adopt a bike-share program. The program will place 300 bike-share bicycles at 30 outdoor stations around Raleigh, including N.C. State and Shaw universities, the NC Museum of Art, and other locations along the East Coast Greenway route.

The ECGA thanks local partners including WakeUP Wake County and the Raleigh City Council, and we give very special thanks to longtime ECG supporter and Wake County Commissioner, Sig Hutchinson, for moving this project forward! Raleigh will soon join other East Coast Greenway cities that have invested in bicycle-sharing programs including Boston, Philadelphia, New York, D.C., Savannah, and Miami. You can read more here.

Saturday, May 7, 2016 – 3rd Annual Toast to Trails Cycle & Sip hosted by the East Coast Greenway Alliance and Cloer Family Vineyards. This bicycle ride boasts a 25-mile round trip ride on the scenic southern portion of the American Tobacco Trail (ATT) in Durham, NC. The half-way point features a visit to the beautiful Cloer Family Vineyards in Apex, NC.

Lunch and a wine tasting are included in the ticket price. ECGA members receive a discount on tickets, and non-member tickets include a year membership! Registration and additional information. Early bird pricing until April 15th!

VA: In Virginia, the second gathering of the Virginia State Trails Advisory Committee is scheduled for March 22 in Charlottesville. ECGA South-Atlantic Coordinator Niles Barnes is an active committee member and is focused on strategies to complete the East Coast Greenway in the state. More info to come in the next E-News!


Mid Atlantic

The East Coast Greenway Alliance is growing its staff and its capacity. We are very pleased to announce that we are adding a Tri-State Regional Greenway Coordinator to focus on NJ, NY, and CT. We will be accepting applications until April 30, 2016. For more information about the position, please see the job posting on our website.

We have several upcoming spring events in the Mid-Atlantic region.

April 18, 2016, 6:30 – 8:30 PM – Meet the East Coast Greenway in New York City. Join East Coast Greenway staff, trustees and volunteers at REI in Soho (303 Lafayette St.) to learn about exciting new developments along the route, particularly in the Tri-State area, plus group bike rides and other events this year, and tips on exploring the Greenway on your own. Sign up here.

Saturday, April 23, 7:30 – 4:30 PM – Wilmington to Philadelphia Ride! Join the East Coast Greenway Alliance and friends for a multi-modal bike tour and picnic lunch on the East Coast Greenway! This 42-mile ride will include both on-road and traffic-separated greenway and trail sections of the ECG. Experience the East Coast Greenway’s Northern Delaware Greenway, John Heinz Wildlife Refuge, and the Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk! For details and registration, please click here.

Sunday, May 15, 2016 – 5-Island Ride, Join us on a 29-mile route that begins in Manhattan and crosses into the Bronx using the re-opened High Bridge, then continues to Randalls (and Ward) Island, Queens and Roosevelt Island. Read more and register here.


New England

Barbara Amodio, ECG CT Volunteer on the Hop River- Willimantic Connector in Columbia

ECG CT Volunteer Barbara Amodio on the Hop River-Willimantic Connector (during construction) in Columbia

CT: Major progress continues in the Nutmeg State. Last week bulldozers and other heavy equipment were spotted working on future segments of the East Coast Greenway in Willimantic and Columbia, CT.

The newest 1.4-mile stretch of the Willimantic River Trail is situated between two extensive stretches of existing greenway.

Traveling northbound (toward Rhode Island) is the ECG’s 24-mile Air Line Trail North, and heading southbound (toward New York) is the 12.5-mile Hop River Trail. Completion of the Willimantic River Trail reduces the gap between the Hop River and Willimantic River Trails to less than one mile!

What’s also exciting is that once the resurfacing project for the Air Line Trail North in Chaplin and Hampton is complete, the Hop River Trail, Willimantic River Trail, and Air Line Trail North will come together to form over 40 miles of continuous East Coast Greenway!

These numbers are only expected to grow as the State continues many more exciting gap closing efforts. We are thankful for our partners at Connecticut DOT and the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) who continue to demonstrate strong dedication to ECG projects like the Willimantic River Trail.

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