March 2010
(the beginning of membership drive month!)

In This Issue...


National News

  • Greetings from Executive Director Dennis Markatos-Soriano
  • Report from the National Bicycle Summit
  • Goodbye, Steve, and thanks!

Regional News: Southeast

  • Big Stride for Florida

Regional News: South Atlantic

  • Steve Bevington rides on

Regional News: Mid Atlantic

  • Another new bridge in NJ: Will it be built without bike/ped accommodation?

Regional News: New England

  • Hartford Viaduct + multi-use trail?

Social Networks:


ECG News Online is a publication of the East Coast Greenway Alliance.

Staff
Dennis Markatos-Soriano: Executive Director

Steve Bevington: South Atlantic Regional Trail Coordinator (last day today! Bye Steve!)

Kitty Carter: Office Manager/Membership Coordinator/Bookkeeper

Herb Hiller: Southeast Region Consultant

Mike Oliva: Mid-Atlantic Regional Trail Coordinator

Eric Weis: Trail Program Coordinator


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National ECGA News

Greetings from ECGA Executive Director, Dennis Markatos-Soriano

We Need You: It's Membership Time

Dear ECGA members,

Spring is not only a great time to jump back on the trail, but also an important time to invest in your trail.

We have entered membership drive time here at the East Coast Greenway Alliance. This is the crucial few weeks of spring when thousands of contributions add up to form the backbone that supports our staff.

The Great Recession has taken its toll, forcing us to furlough our staff part of the time. But together we can get our organization on the road to recovery. If all of our e-newsletter recipients are dues-paying members for 2010, then we can end the furlough and get our staff working fulltime to accelerate Greenway development.

Such support would also help us follow-up an amazing National Bike Summit in DC during mid-March. Fifty ECGA members, Board, and staff were in attendance to network with partner organizations and make our case to members of Congress from Maine to Florida.

And we continue our momentum of strong partnerships from the public sector (the TIGER grant for Philadelphia's ECG) to the private sector -- we just began working with Google to integrate the East Coast Greenway into their new biking directions tool! This move by Google will help erase one of the last remaining barriers (a lack of cycling maps) to bicycling becoming a mainstream commuter mode nationwide.

There are so many new sections of greenway set to open in 2010 that we can't wait to tell you about. And we are making solid progress on our current route, from posting ECG signs in Massachusetts and Delaware to printing a guide for the Virginia route. With your help, we are making exploring the trail even easier.

Each month is marked by further accomplishments. And with your donation (either by giving online here or by responding to our request in the mail), our staff will have the resources to accelerate trail development and mapping for a safe and accessible East Coast Greenway. Please consider forwarding this note to others who may be interested in joining our growing membership.

Onwards to a healthy and sustainable America!

Dennis


ECGA Executive Director Dennis Markatos-Soriano (L) and Mid-Atlantic Coordinator Michael Oliva in DC for the 2010 National Bicycle Summit

National Bicycle Summit report

This, the tenth edition, may have been the best Bike Summit yet. It was certainly the best attended. Highlights included a rousing speech by USDOT Secretary Ray LaHood, the announcement of the Google-Maps-directions-for-bicyclists feature, and the announcement that bike lanes will be striped on Pennsylvania Avenue this May. Amazing!

Attendees left armed with the latest and best information on a number of Congressional bills affecting walking and bicycling across the country, and having had more than 425 scheduled meetings on Capitol Hill to talk about those bills. The East Coast Greenway Alliance was well represented, with staff or volunteers there from at least 9 states. A report from the League of American Bicyclists can be read here.

We hope to see you there next year!

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (RI) met with ECGA's Eric Weis (R) and RI Bike Coalition's Matt Moritz (L) during the Summit

Farewell, Steve, and Thanks!

With mixed emotions, we want to let you know that Steve Bevington, our South Atlantic Regional Coordinator since 2008, is leaving the ECGA for a new position with the State of NC. Today (March 26) is his last official day with us.

In his time with the ECGA, Steve has brought us to a new level of prominence with the state agencies with which we work in VA, NC, and SC. Our Virginia User Guide, a project which he has guided since shortly after its inception, is over the hump; Steve leaves us with a downhill run on that project.

While we're sad to see him go, we're delighted that he's found a great position with the NC Division of Health, working on the active lifestyles agenda. We know we'll cross paths with him again, both in his new professional capacity, and because he plans to continue with the East Coast Greenway as a volunteer.

Steve: your co-workers wish you only the best in your new position. See you on the trail!


Regional News: Southeast
Herb Hiller reports:


Big Step for Florida ECG


Florida has its first state committee for the East Coast Greenway.

We're 10 newly on board in addition to trail council members Paul Haydt, Steve Davis, and yours truly. We're variously North Florida Land Trust Executive Director Bonnie Barnes; Jacksonville City Council Member and architect Bill Bishop; Jacksonville architect Melody Bishop; St. Lucie County Bike-Ped Coordinator Ed DeFini; Jacksonville's House on Cherry Street B&B owner and cyclist Victoria Freeman; St. Johns County cycling advocate Bob Gillespie, Ph.D.; attorney Jeffrey Lynne from Palm Beach and Broward counties; outdoors educator Mike Pikula from Nassau County, City of Jacksonville Planner James M. Reed, and communications and TV production specialist Lucia Ross from Hillsborough County.

We're concentrated in, though not exclusively from, Florida's northeast. Accordingly we will develop an agenda that lets us use projects we're already developing in this part of the state for suitable applications elsewhere along our route. As we organize, I've already asked our committee how the Greenway Alliance can benefit the interests of each, while we also proceed toward identifying how each can benefit the Greenway whole.

More to come, while we also reach for additional committee members in the seven counties of our route not yet represented.

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Regional News: South Atlantic


From Steve


Note from Steve Bevington, ECGA Regional Coordinator for VA, NC, & SC: I am sorry to say that this will be my last week with the ECGA. While I am leaving the ECGA at the end of March I will be remaining in the field of alternative transportation, having accepted a position with the North Carolina Division of Health. In many ways this is an odd time to leave the Alliance, with so many excellent trail segments under construction and so much good energy and collaboration making the ECG a reality. I have never felt better about our work. However, I have a nice opportunity to work on similar issues in my community. So while this is 'Farewell' this is certainly not 'Goodbye'. I expect to continue to work with many of you and keep an active eye on the ECG as it thrives and grows. I hope to see you soon on the East Coast Greenway!



Steve rides into the sunset...
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Regional News: Mid-Atlantic


The Meadowlands: Portal Bridge


NJ Residents: WRITE YOUR CONGRESSMAN and SENATOR for biking and walking access on the new Portal Bridge!

The ECGA is asking NJ Transit to provide multi-use pathways as part of compensation to Hudson County for taking parkland; we are also asking YOU to reach out to your Congressman and Senators to sign and send in the attached letter of support to US DOT. US DOT can ensure that bike/ped access be included on the new Portal Bridge as the project is federally funded and under federal jurisdiction.

Also feel free to send your own letter directly to USDOT.

Please email or call your Congressman and tell them you support bike & walking access on the new Portal Bridge and ask them to mail this letter of support to USDOT! (And here are the addresses for the people copied on the sample letter.)

Senator Frank Lautenberg: contact David Garten, david_garten@lautenberg.senate.gov, 202-224-3224

Senator Robert Menendez: contact Jorge Madrid, jorge_madrid@menendez.senate.gov, 202-224-3603

Congressman Albio Sires: contact Mariel Lim, mariel.lim@mail.house.gov, 202-225-7919

Congressman Steven Rothman: contact Will Isenberg, will.isenberg@mail.house.gov, 202-225-5061

Congressman Donald Payne: contact LaVerne Alexander, Laverne.alexander@mail.house.gov, 202-225-3436

Many thanks for your support! Each time a new bridge is built that doesn't permit pedestrians or cyclists, we collectively beat our heads against the wall and say "never again..." Together, we can make the new Portal Bridge a bike-walk friendly facility!


 
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Regional News: New England


New Trail Opportunity in Hartford!


Another city, another interstate highway cutting it in half, and another instance of aging infrastructure needing major repairs or replacement. In Boston, elevated I-93 was torn down and replaced with the "Central Artery" project (aka The Big Dig), burying the highway and topping it with the Rose Kennedy Greenway. In Providence, part of I-195 is currently being realigned, creating new park space and, soon, a new piece of the East Coast Greenway. So what will Hartford do with its problem highway, I-84?

Since its construction in the 60s, I-84 has split the city in two. The "Aetna Viaduct" is the elevated portion of the highway, casting shadows and requiring vast attention (and resources) to keep it safe for the 175,000 cars using it daily, and it has outlived its useful life. Estimates are that it will cost about a billion dollars to replace it, and even more to redesign the way the highway serves Hartford. Bury it, like in Boston? Make it street-level, spanned with a series of bridges for local traffic?

The East Coast Greenway Alliance is, of course, quite interested in the process. If the public determines to rebuild it as an elevated highway, the space beneath it - currently a series of parking lots - could be redesigned to have a multi-use path leading directly to Bushnell Park, Hartford's historic Olmsted Park (and the first publicly-financed park in the United States).

The City of Hartford & State of Connecticut now faces a decision that can shape the "feel" of the city for decades to come. Be assured that the ECGA is keeping on top of the situation and will continue to speak persuasively in favor of progressive transportation choices, which will (of course) include separated pathways for local walkers and bicyclists, which will also serve as the route of the East Coast Greenway.

You can learn more and leave comments here.

Images courtesy Capital Region Council of Governments

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***
ECG News Online is a publication of the East Coast Greenway Alliance, a national not-for-profit membership organization dedicated to promoting the establishment, preservation, sound management, and safe use and enjoyment of the East Coast Greenway, a 3000-mile, continuous route linking seaboard cities and towns from Maine to Florida. It aims to be 100% traffic-free.

~ Support the Greenway by becoming a member of the ECGA or sponsoring a mile of trail today.

~ Get Involved! Volunteer, write a letter, help spread the word...learn about all the ways you can help create the ECG.

~ Comments? Suggestions? News? Contact the ECGA at info@greenway.org.

~ Learn more about the East Coast Greenway by visiting our website, or call us at (401) 789-4625.

We look forward to hearing from you!


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