Construction of the Eastern Promenade in Portland, Maine, in 2014.


Our handy guide to terms and acronyms commonly used among partners and agencies working to develop the East Coast Greenway.

Alternate route: not used. See “complementary route”

Board of Trustees: Governing body of the East Coast Greenway Alliance.

Complementary route: On the East Coast Greenway, any route that is not part of the spine route. Formerly referred to as “alternate route.” East Coast Greenway complementary routes must join the East Coast Greenway spine route at two different points to create a loop; one-way spur routes or loops that start and end at the same point on the spine are not permitted. East Coast Greenway Alliance policy allows the Board to create a limited number of complementary routes for particular purposes including scenic, historic, and cultural qualities. As of June 2019 the Greenway has 8 approved complementary routes in ME, MA & RI, NY, NY & NJ, NJ & PA, MD & DC, VA & NC, and FL. These are designated in the same manner as spine segments and are intended to have East Coast Greenway wayfinding signs. 

Designation: East Coast Greenway Alliance Board approval of a bike/walk facility to be an official segment of the East Coast Greenway. This includes both spine and complementary route segments. Does not include interim routes. 

Endorsement: agreement from a facility’s managing agency that said facility can be a section of the East Coast Greenway.

Greenway: Defined in multiple ways. For East Coast Greenway Alliance, a greenway is a traffic-separated transportation and recreation facility for bicyclists, pedestrians, and other non-motorized users.

Greenway Council: East Coast Greenway Alliance’s volunteer body advising the Board of Trustees on trail and greenway related matters. Previously known as the Trail Council. 

Inspection: Using the East Coast Greenway Alliance Inspection Report, a user review of a facility that has been nominated to be an official segment of the East Coast Greenway.

Interim route: routing for the East Coast Greenway that will be replaced in the future by a “permanent” greenway route more appropriate for inclusion in the East Coast Greenway. Typically, interim routes are shared road routes. These routes are developed by the East Coast Greenway State Committees and are intended to be signed to aid in navigating the current, interim travel route. 

Permanent route: any East Coast Greenway section considered to be the final routing.

Phased designation: when a trail is constructed in multiple phases, perhaps over a period of several years, the East Coast Greenway Alliance may conduct a phased designation in which, after the first phase of the project is complete, the designation application and endorsement will refer to the entire project, so that as additional sections are built, only inspections, maps, and photos of the new sections will be needed to officially designate those sections.

Spine route: the primary route of the East Coast Greenway which connects the 25 urban centers noted in the East Coast Greenway vision statement, as differentiated from the East Coast Greenway “complementary routes.” The spine route includes both permanent and interim routes. 

Spur trail: The East Coast Greenway Alliance does not allow for spur trails to be designated, which would be one-way, dead-end, out-and-back routes originating and returning to a single point on the East Coast Greenway.

Regional Greenway Coordinators: East Coast Greenway Alliance field staff responsible for promoting route development and other activities within one of East Coast Greenway Alliance’s six regions: New England (ME, NH, MA, RI), Tri-State (CT, NY, NY), Mid-Atlantic (PA, DE, MD, DC), Virginia & North Carolina, South Carolina & Georgia, and Florida.

State Committee: the volunteer group recognized by East Coast Greenway Alliance as the state-level partner in advocating for development of the Greenway. State Committees nominate trails for designation, have representation on the Alliance’s Greenway Council, and work in tandem with regional trail staff to move trail segments forward.

Touring bike accessible: an East Coast Greenway Alliance term indicating a trail surface suitable for use by bicycles with tires generally 35 mm wide. Usually these are paved trails, but can also be unpaved if the trail surface is properly applied and compacted. 


Additional Glossary & Acronyms

AASHTO: American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials is a national standards-setting body. See also NACTO.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): Law prohibiting discrimination and guaranteeing disabled people access to public facilities.

Average daily traffic (ADT): Average number of motor vehicles on a road passing a specific point both ways in a 24-hour period.

Bicycle boulevard: a low-speed street optimized for bicycle traffic through signage, traffic- calming elements, etc.

Bicycle Level of Service (BLOS): Estimate of bicyclist’s comfort level based on several variables; BLOS ranges from a high of A to a low of F. See also Level of Traffic Stress.

Bike Guide: Common name for the nationally-used AASHTO Guide to the Development of Bicycle Facilities.

Bike lane: A lane on a roadway designated by striping, signing and pavement markings for the preferential use of bicyclists.

Bike route: often marked with signage, a bike route indicates an identified route a bicyclist is permitted to go. Note: bicyclists often have the right to travel on all roads except in limited access situations (i.e. interstate highways, some bridges, etc). 

BUILD grants: “Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development” discretionary grants program administered by the U.S. Department of Transportation (formerly known as TIGER grants). 

COG (Council of Governments): regional governing and/or coordinating bodies that exist throughout the United States. COGs are normally controlled by their member local governments.

Complete street: A street designed and operated to enable safe travel for all users, including bicyclists.

Comprehensive (or Comp) Plan: a document that dictates public policy in terms of transportation, land use, housing, recreation,and utilities. It is the result of a process determining community goals and aspirations in terms of community development.

Contraflow: Travel in the opposite direction of primary traffic. For our purposes, this will refer to a bike lane which flows in the opposite direction of car traffic.

Cue sheet: Turn-by-turn written travel directions for bicyclists.

Curb: A raised-concrete border forming a part of the gutter at the edge of the road, typically located at the corners of street intersections.

Curb radius: The form of the curved raised-concrete edge joining intersecting curbs. 

Cycle track: a bicycle lane physically separated from motor vehicle traffic.

Curb ramp or cut: A ramp leading smoothly from a sidewalk or trail to a street. 

Cycletrack: see Separated Bike Lane

Easement: A legal right to use land owned by another, sometimes used for shared-use paths. 

Gutter pan: Concrete channel next to the curb for carrying runoff, typically 1-2 feet wide. A bicycle lane which counts the gutter pan as part of its width is inferior and possibly dangerous.

HAWK signal: High-Intensity Activated Crosswalk signals that alert drivers of trail users looking to cross.

Lane: A division of roadway intended for movement of vehicles in a single direction.

Level of Service (LOS): Estimate of the service quality of a road facility under certain operating conditions based on traffic delay and congestion, with A representing the best and F the worst.

Level of Traffic Stress (LTS): Also, Bicycle Level of Traffic Stress (BLTS), a method for classifying streets into four levels, by weighing separation from motor vehicles, traffic speed, traffic volume, and quality of crossings. Also see Bicycle Level of Service.

Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP): a document which guides investment in an MPO’s transportation system for the next 30 years, updated every 5 years. It informs development of the shorter-range Transportation Improvement Program.

Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD): A document with standards for traffic signs, road markings, and signals, published by Federal Highway Administration.

Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO): a federally mandated and federally funded transportation policy-making organization that is made up of representatives from local government and governmental transportation authorities. Federal law requires the formation of an MPO for any urbanized area with a population greater than 50,000. Federal funding for transportation projects and programs are channeled through this planning process. Also see COG.

National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO): a coalition of the Departments of Transportation of 22 of the largest cities in North America, and 17 affiliate member cities. NACTO produces a bicycle design guide widely considered to be more progressive than guidelines provided by the AASHTO bike book and the MUTCD.

Pedestrian refuge: a small section of pavement or sidewalk, completely surrounded by asphalt or other road materials, where pedestrians can stop before finishing crossing a road.

Preliminary design: The initial phase of design drawings and supporting documents, usually prepared to about 30-40 percent completion.

Protected bike lane: see Separated Bike Lane

Regional Planning Agency: see COG Regional Planning Council: see COG

Right-of-way (ROW or R/W): Land owned by a jurisdiction that is used for the road or trail, services and adjacent access areas.

Road diet: Reduction in the number of through travel lanes on a roadway, sometimes to make room for bike lanes.

Separated bike lane: an exclusive facility for bicyclists that is located within or directly adjacent to the roadway and that is physically separated from motor vehicle traffic with a vertical element. The vertical element may be flexible, such as vertical delineators, or firm and fixed, such as concrete bollards or planters, or even non-permanent, such as a row of parked cars. A separated bike lane may also be grade-separated. It can be for one-way traffic or two-way traffic.

Shared lane marking (aka “sharrow”): A pavement marking with a bike symbol and chevrons to indicate the recommended position for bicyclists on the road.

Shared roadway: A roadway that is open to both bicycles and motorized vehicles.

Shared-use path: A paved bikeway physically separated from motorized traffic that may also be used by pedestrians and others.

Shoulder: The paved or gravel part of the roadway that is adjacent to the vehicular lanes of the road and is on the same level.

Sidepath: A shared-use path located next to a roadway.

Sidewalk: The portion of the right-of-way adjacent to the roadway but intended for use by pedestrians, usually made of concrete or asphalt. 

Signed route: any route marked with wayfinding signs

Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP): a federally-mandated planning document that identifies outdoor recreation issues of statewide significance and evaluates the supply of and the demand for outdoor recreation resources and facilities in a state. The SCORP provides unified guidance to state and municipal officials as they develop and expand outdoor recreation opportunities for their respective constituents.

Striping: Road surface paint lines, which can be solid or dashed, white or yellow.

TIP: see Transportation Improvement Program

Traffic-separated: physically separated from motor vehicle traffic by a vertical element (e.g., bollards, jersey barriers, flexible delineator posts, or a grade separation) or a horizontal element (e.g., a grassy verge, drainage swale, etc.) providing at least five feet of separation from the edge of traveled way,or if present, road shoulder. If the vertical element is firm and fixed, such a facility may be designated as East Coast Greenway.

Traffic calming: Set of strategies aimed at slowing down or reducing traffic volume.

Trail: see Greenway

Transportation Alternatives Program: that portion of the Federal transportation act that provides funding for pedestrian and bicycle facilities, access to public transportation, environmental mitigation, and more.

Transportation Improvement Program, or Plan (TIP): a federally-mandated list of transportation projects an MPO intends to implement using United States Department of Transportation funds. Also see LRTP.

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