Regional News: October 2016

New England
Maine: The Eastern Trail Alliance is working hard to close a 1.6 mile gap in Scarborough, Maine, which will also become a part of the East Coast Greenway. Once completed, there will be 16 off-road miles connecting Saco to South Portland. The ETA has a fundraising campaign to “Close the Gap” which has reached 80% of its goal! Read more and donate here.

New Hampshire: On Saturday, October 22nd, the New Hampshire Seacoast Greenway (which serves as the ECG New Hampshire state committee) hosted a fall trail event, which was attended by 28 trail volunteers and corridor community staff, planning, and select board members. Topics included a status update of the negotiations between NH Department of Transportation and Pan Am Railways to purchase the remaining 9.7 mile Hampton Branch corridor which will connect the ECG from Hampton to Portsmouth and a presentation on how trails serve as a catalyst for regional economic development in the region.

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Jerry Klima of the Massachusetts based Coastal Trails Coalition presenting to NH coastal town representatives. Photo by Scott Bogle, ECGA NH Committee Chair.

Scott Bogle, ECGA NH Chair and Senior Transportation Planner at the Rockingham Planning Commission, says he’s feeling optimistic that the presentations helped local officials see the broad range of benefits that the trail can provide. That will help as they continue the work of developing local trail management agreements with NHDOT and refine plans for trail construction. The latest word on the NHDOT/Pan Am negotiation is that NHDOT has hired another third party appraiser, specializing in rail corridors, and that a report should be available in 60-90 days. We’re hopeful this will result in an appraisal value acceptable to both parties, and a sale can be concluded in early 2017.

Connecticut: The Town of Simsbury received $305,000 for Trail Construction for Phase I of the Tariffville Connector Trail. This project was funded by Connecticut Recreational Trails Program through the Connecticut Dept. of Energy & Environmental Protection. The 10’ wide, multi-use trail will run from the Farmington Canal Heritage trail at Route 315 in Simsbury, 0.6 miles to Curtiss and Patterson Parks. This is part of the major Hartford Connector for the East Coast Greenway, which will eventually connect to an existing project of almost two miles along the Griffin Line Corridor in Bloomfield. Construction is expected to begin in 2017.

Connecticut: The ECGA and Farmington Valley Trails Council talked up the Plainville gap closure project last weekend at the Plainville Pumpkin Festival. It was a cold day, but many members of the public and local officals attended the event. Read more about the gap closure project.

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Photo L-R: Candidate for State Representative for greater Plainville Dr. Bill Petit, Gap closure study Project Lead David Head of VHB, Town Manager Robert Lee, and ECGA Tri-State Coordinator Bruce Donald.

Upcoming Events:
Connecticut: State Committee Annual Meeting – Thursday, November 3, 4-6 PM, 260 Constitution Plaza, Hartford, CT. Please join us for the annual meeting of the CT state committee. Sara Bronin of Hartford’s Planning and Zoning Commission will welcome the group, and the committee will install officers, provide regional updates, and draft their committee charter. Please contact Bruce Donald, Tri-State Coordinator with any questions at bruce@greenway.org.

Connecticut: ASLA Symposium on Greenways – Thursday, Nov. 10 in Hartford. The CT Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects presents “Designing Trails & Greenways: Pathways for Success,” a full-day symposium on the planning, design, construction, and management of linear transportation corridors. Thursday, November 10 at The Lyceum Conference Center in Hartford, CT. Bruce Donald, ECGA Tri-state Coordinator, is the first speaker of the day. Read more here.

Regional Media: BTA/BOLT Working to Connect Rail and Bay Circuit Trails | Wayland Rail Trail Construction Starting Soon | Bicycle and Pedestrian Friendly Policies are Good as Far as they Go | Mattapoisett Bike Path

Mid-Atlantic

Delaware: The final phase of the New Castle Industrial Track Trail will soon be under construction! Delaware’s Department of Transportation and Department of Natural Resources are hosting a groundbreaking ceremony on November 2 at 2 PM at the DuPont Environmental Education Center, 1400 Delmarva Lane in Wilmington, Delaware.

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Just over a mile long, this section will complete the final phase of the 6-mile New Castle Industrial Track Trail, a critical segment of the 3,000-mile ECG. When complete, the trail will connect with the Wilmington Riverwalk to provide a walking and bicycling connection between downtown Wilmington and Old New Castle and the Delaware Riverfront. The project has been called the “crown jewel” of Delaware’s trail network.

DC/Maryland: Celebrate the opening of the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens section of the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail! The District Department of Transportation is holding a ribbon cutting ceremony on Monday, October 31 at 10 AM at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, 1150 Anacostia Ave. NE in Washington, DC.  The 9.5 mile Anacostia Riverwalk Trail now links Hyattsville, MD, to Washington, DC, and is part of the ECG’s complementary route in DC and Maryland.

New Jersey: Our friends at the Embankment Preservation Coalition are asking for everyone’s support to help preserve the Harsimus Branch Embankment in downtown Jersey City. This unique structure is an important part of the historic Pennsylvania Railroad corridor and an important ECG connection. Please sign this petition!

Upcoming Event
Mountainside, New Jersey: Freewalkers Host Stroll & Roll, Nov. 6, 9:30 AM – The FreeWalkers and Union County Parks will host Stroll and Roll 2016, an inaugural walking and fitness event in Echo Lake Park, Mountainside, NJ, on November 6, starting at 9:30 a.m. Families, kids and seniors will be able to walk, bike or roll their way along a gentle course of up to four miles along the park’s hiking trails, with many children’s activities along the way.

The route is a straight line from the Gazebo at Echo Lake to the bridge in Lenape Park and the East Coast Greenway in Kenilworth, and back, for a total distance of up to four miles. This event is free of charge and open to the public. More details and online registration are available at strollroll.org. Visitors may also register upon arrival.

Regional Media: Christina Bike Bridge to Open Unused Pathways | Latest Claymont Redevelopment Plans Released | Freewalkers and Union Co. Parks Host ‘Stroll & Roll’ Nov. 6

South Atlantic

ECGA South Atlantic Coordinator Kathryn placing wayfinding signs.

ECGA South Atlantic Coordinator Kathryn placing wayfinding signs.

North and South Carolina: New signage is now in place in two key areas in the Carolinas! We recently placed on-road ECG wayfinding signs on 17 miles of ECG in Cumberland County, North Carolina, from the county line to downtown Fayetteville. Special thanks to Eric Vitale, Cumberland County transportation planner for assisting ECGA staff during installation.

Ten miles of Myrtle Beach’s ECG route was signed in early October. Special thanks to Kelly Mezzapelle, planner for the City of Myrtle Beach and local volunteers for signing the route. Myrtle Beach recently became the first city along the ECG to complete its entire off-road route.

Virginia: Planning is underway to extend the ECG’s coastal route in Virginia. The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), in partnership with Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization and consultants Michael Baker, is leading a study to extend the Virginia Capital Trail, the 52-mile, multi-use trail from Richmond to Jamestown, which is part of the ECG’s coastal route.

On September 27th, the newly formed Paths Connecting to Virginia Capital Trail Committee met to discuss two 30-mile off-road alignments: one leading to Hampton Roads along the peninsula and the other leading to Suffolk via the Jamestown Ferry, which is a part of the envisioned ECG historic coastal route. The committee has requested public input, and the next meeting is planned for mid-November. Read more here.

Upcoming Event
Durham, NC: Botany By Bicycle – Sat. Nov. 19, 2 PM. The ECGA is partnering with Extra Terrestrial Projects to host the second Botany by Bicycle ride in Durham on Saturday, November 19th. (Meet at the downtown trailhead of the American Tobacco Trail on Blackwell St. at Morehead Ave. Ride starts at 2 PM.)

Justin Robinson, NC Restoration Manager of Extra Terrestrial Projects, will lead riders on a leisurely 12-15 mile ride and will highlight local plant and tree species along the trail. The Zen Succulent, a terrarium boutique in Downtown Durham, is sponsoring the ride and will provide a free succulent to all participants.

Regional Media: Myrtle Beach First to Complete its Section of Park, Path from Maine to Florida | Apex Hopes to More than Double Greenway Mileage by 2020 | Save RDU Forests

Southeast

Georgia: The 7th annual Georgia Bike Summit was held on Jekyll Island on Oct. 21-23. An ECG-focused workshop included speakers Dr. Herman Blake, Executive Director, Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commission and ECGA Advisory Board member; Atiba Mbiwan, Associate Director of The Zeist Foundation and ECGA Advisory Board member; and Jo Claire Hickson, Executive Director, Coastal Georgia Greenway and ECGA National Greenway Council member. The workshop was multi-faceted and focused not only on greenway development, but also the unique combination of placemaking, health advocacy, conservation, green mobility and tourism, along with cultural retention and economic development, that is possible when diverse organizations and programs work together to achieve ambitious goals.

Florida: Great news for the ECG in Florida – the state recently announced the projects it will be funding this fiscal year (2016 – 2017) through the SUN Trails program. A total of $44,434,543 million was awarded to 45 projects located throughout Florida, and several ECG projects received significant support. The map below shows the location of all SUN Trail funded projects.

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ECG projects include $2.675 million allocated to ECG spine route in St. Lucie and Miami-Dade counties and more than $13 million for the St. John’s River to Sea Loop (ECG spine and complementary route). Funds will be used for construction costs, feasibility studies, project development / environmental studies and preliminary engineering. Read more here.

Upcoming Event:
Florida: Please join the ECGA and Friends of Amelia Island Trail for an event on Weds. November 2, from noon – 1:30 PM at Café Karibo (2nd floor), 27 North 3rd St, Fernandina Beach, FL 32034.

The ECGA’s Board Chair, Bob Spiegelman, and Phil Scanlan of the Friends of Amelia Island Trail will provide an update on the ECG and the Amelia Island Trail. There will be time for Q&A and to discuss how the ECGA and Friends of the Amelia Island Trail can work together to achieve our goals. Please RSVP to info@greenway.org if you wish to attend this event. Event attendees are invited to make a donation to support the ECG in Florida. (If you donate online, please indicate your donation is for the Amelia Island event in the “in honor of” line.)

Regional Media: Bike Summit Starts its Run Friday 

This blog post appeared in our October 2016 E-newsletter. Click this link to read the entire newsletter.