Three days of talking trails, learning from others' work, and deepening partnerships left attendees proclaiming our first-ever Mid-Atlantic Greenways & Trails Summit a success.
"Thank you, @ECGreenway & other presenters and organizers," tweeted attendee Tony Goodman as he made his way home to Washington, DC. "I'm ready & inspired to continue our work for more & better trails."
The Summit began Thursday, April 4 with afternoon mobile workshops followed by a reception and panel talk featuring leaders of the local Circuit Trail network, of which the East Coast Greenway offers a centerpiece route. Executive Director Dennis Markatos-Soriano greeted attendees, followed by Taylor Kuyk-White, youth cycling manager for Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadephia, who welcomed the group to Philadelphia and introduced Emir Johnson and Jahmiel Jackson, two members of her Youth Advisory Committee, who shared stories of what cycling means to them.
We began Friday with a keynote address by Mitchell Silver, commissioner of New York City's Parks Department. "You give me a sidewalk, I'll give you a park," Silver told attendees, a concept familiar to many linear park greenway designers in the audience. Silver's initiatives in creating "parks without borders" include taking a new look at park entrances, edges, and adjacent space, adding things such as sidewalk benches because parks close at dark.
Four breakout sessions followed with more than 20 presentations. Strong themes running through the sessions were the value of collaboration and partnerships and the practice of equity, bringing diverse community voices to the table early in the planning process. Breaks throughout the day allowed for networking and visiting with sponsors in our expo hall.
At lunch Matt Ludwig, a planner and engineer, unveiling the regional impact report he led for his agency, NV5, along with Econsult Solutions. The summary finding of "Investing in Our Future: Quantifying the Impact of Completing the East Coast Greenway in the Delaware River Watershed": Finishing the 175 miles of East Coast Greenway in the Greater Philadelphia region would mean $3 billion in public health, environmental, and economic benefits. (Download report)
Patty Elkis, director of planning for Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, and Cindy Dunn, secretary of Pennsylvania's Department of Conservation & Natural Resources, also spoke at lunch, reinforcing the impact report's findings.
We wrapped up our time in Philadelphia on Saturday with five mobile workshop options, from a cleanup of Schuylkill River Trail to bike rides and a walk across the Ben Franklin Bridge from Camden.
We appreciate the support of our Summit partner organizations and sponsors, including our major Summit sponsors William Penn Foundation, GSK, and NV5 along with AARP of Pennsylvania, EConsult Solutions Inc., Langsam Stevens Silver & Hollaender, Eco Counter, Langan, Toole Design, Alta Planning & Design, DVRPC, JBI Bike, and League of American Bicyclists.
We'll send monthly updates on East Coast Greenway progress and people.
Your support helps to develop this ambitious, 3,000-mile route, Canada to Key West. Your membership gift builds more protected miles that we can all enjoy, today and for generations to come.