There has never been a more critical moment for our nation to invest in regional trails and greenways. Greenway infrastructure investment has the highest return for our economy in terms of jobs and for our community in terms of health, environmental sustainability and economic growth. Recent studies along the 3,000-mile East Coast Greenway show a more than ten-fold return. A $2.5 billion investment this decade could turn into over $25 billion in benefits as we complete the route for the 450 communities we connect from Maine to Florida. There are more than $400 million in shovel-ready projects today, poised to drive economic growth and public health improvement in the next few years.
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The map below offers a look at 60 construction-ready projects along the East Coast Greenway route. The numbers represent the number of projects in each state.
Sixty projects - urban and rural, across 15 states - spanning the length of the East Coast Greenway are construction-ready. Here are a few examples:
The completion of this segment would be a huge improvement and an impetus for more people biking along this corridor, while slowing traffic and making for a more comfortable and attractive corridor to walk and jog. It also connects two major subway stations on the Broad Street Line and the Market Frankford Line and will connect a growing commercial corridor with restaurants, breweries and tourist destinations like the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The segment also will connect the popular Schuylkill River Trail to the Delaware River Trail and increase direct connectivity within Philly's Center City neighborhoods.
These projects are two region-wide proposed projects connected by the existing Virginia Capital Trail. The Ashland to Petersburg Trail (43 miles) will connect the greater Richmond metro area, while the Birthplace of America Trail will connect the greater Hampton Roads area in southeastern Virginia. The completion of these two projects will create contiguous greenways stretching from central Virginia all the way to the Chesapeake Bay, providing connections to some of Virginia’s most scenic rural areas as well as to the state capital. Both trails also would provide unprecedented opportunities for statewide bike/ped connectivity, tourism and economic development.
This project will connect the city of Georgetown's quiet, historic, waterfront downtown with the existing Waccamaw Neck Bikeway, a popular asphalt trail that extends north to Murrells Inlet, passing through Huntington Beach State Park's maritime forests along the way. The project includes both a new multi-use path to extend the Waccamaw Neck Bikeway south to the banks of the Waccamaw River at Hobcaw Barony, 16,000 acres of former plantation land with many historical buildings and ecological programs and a revitalized ferry service across Winyah Bay to the historic Georgetown waterfront. The trail and ferry will benefit tourism in the area and will provide a viable non-motorized route for commutes to Georgetown from Pawley's Island, Murrells Inlet and developments between the two.
This project would extend the Eastern Trail from its current terminus at Kennebunk Elementary School all the way through the Town of Wells, achieving 30 miles of completed Greenway in Southern Maine. It would also create a nearly continuous off-road trail corridor from Wells to South Portland making biking, walking, running and other actives safe, attractive and accessible for people who live in or are visiting Southern Maine. The Eastern Trail provides a multi-use trail connection to other local trail systems, transportation options, including bus and rail service, as well as beautiful natural areas like beaches and tidal marshes. Continuing the Eastern Trail's success southward would would reinforce the connections between the towns along the route as a thread to promote regional cooperation in transportation and tourism development plans, and be a big step forward in Maine towards realizing the vision of a connected active transportation and recreation route from Kittery to Calais.
The study, "Investing in Our Future: Quantifying the Impact of Completing the East Coast Greenway in the Delaware River Watershed" was prepared by NV5 and EConsult Solutions in March 2019. The report's key finding: Completing the East Coast Greenway in the Greater Philadelphia region would mean $3 billion in public health, environmental and economic benefits.
The East Coast Greenway Alliance commissioned a study in 2017 to put numbers on what we know to be true: Greenways are good for economic growth. Prepared by Alta Planning + Design and sponsored by GSK, the report finds that the East Coast Greenway generates $90 million in total benefits annually for the Triangle region, from gains in health and the environment to transportation and access benefits, economic gains and increased property values.
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