I’m just back from the East Coast Greenway summit in Providence, Rhode Island. And while some participants couldn’t hold back on their disappointment over the presidential election, I prefer to focus on the inspiring developments I heard about.
There’s a huge amount of progress in creating the off-road network between Connecticut and Delaware in particular. Some of this is because the governors in both Connecticut and Delaware want the East Coast Greenway to be part of their legacy, as I’ve written before. So projects that have been in development are now close to the ribbon-cutting.
In Connecticut, almost 10 miles of trail will be completed this year and a minimum of another 20 miles next year. I saw many of those Connecticut projects on our long weekend there this summer (that’s where the photo is from), and hearing this makes me feel less disappointed that a Portland-to-Hartford ride will likely follow this year’s Calais-to-Portland ride in 2018, not 2017.
Bonus: a bridge over a highway is to be installed one Saturday night early next year (perhaps in April?) and since the road will be closed, why not celebrate there with a midnight street party? Plans are afoot, and I am waiting on the details.
In New Jersey, momentum seems to be building for two key projects, One is a much better route across the Meadowlands, from Jersey City to Newark, that will be called the Essex and Hudson Greenway. It’s gone from concept to the start of a feasibility study in less than a year, which is just amazing. The other is an off-road road from the Middlesex Greenway in Edison to the Raritan River in Highland Park, on the other side of New Brunswick. That would then link with the D&R Canal towpath. Middlesex County appears to be serious about this, so let’s see how long it takes.
Pennsylvania has 10 East Coast Greenway projects under construction this year (one of them is already done!), and another nine are in planning and engineering or ready for construction next year. One is the extension of the Schuylkill River Trail to Bartram’s Garden. There are projects planned in every county from the New Jersey line to the Delaware line, though I don’t know how much easier an off-road ride from Trenton to Philadelphia will become without more work.
In Delaware, there’s just been the groundbreaking for a trail close to 9 miles long connecting Wilmington to New Castle that will replace a hellish 9 miles of roadway.
A few developments away from the Connecticut-to-Delaware corridor:
- Rhode Island voters just passed a $35 million green bond that includes $10 million for bike paths.
- Washington D.C. has just about finished a 9-mile route along the south side of Anacostia River that the East Coast Greenway considers its complementary route. Still to work out is the link back to the National Mall. But when I look at the overall plan for the Anacostia River Walk, I understand the construction boom in Southeast that I saw from the highway on the way back from Raleigh. Trails are an ammenity and help bring economic development!
- Florida is spending $25 million annually on trails, and East Coast Greenway segments are priorities.