Last updated: 11:30 AM ET, Fri July 15 2016

East Coast Greenway Bike Project Almost One-Third Completed

Destination & Tourism | Rich Thomaselli | July 15, 2016

East Coast Greenway Bike Project Almost One-Third Completed

An ambitious project already 25 years in the making to create a 3,000-mile long bicycle path from Maine to Florida is almost a third completed.

The East Coast Greenway Alliance first conceived of a linear park in 1991 using existing paths and bikeways. So far, the East Coast Greenway is about 850 miles done, with another 200 miles of paths expected to be completed by 2020.

As the project continues to gain momentum and publicity, and, in turn, donations of money and time, organizers are hoping to be fully complete by 2030.

 “It’s not a question of when the Greenway will get done, it’s a matter of how fast,” ECGA Executive Director Dennis Markatos-Soriano told City Lab. The Greenway, he adds, is “one of those universally appealing projects.”

At 3,000 miles long, the Greenway would link Calais, Maine, at the Canadian border, with Key West, Florida. Cyclists and other self-powered users of the traffic-free path will pass through 15 states and approximately 450 towns and cities.

The Greenway is almost entirely on public right-of-way, incorporating waterfront esplanades, park paths, abandoned railroad corridors, canal towpaths, and pathways along highway corridors. The Alliance has taken an interesting approach to the gargantuan task of completing the project by asking for volunteers from every one of those almost 450 communities to donate their time to bring the sections of the path up to code, including in some cases widening the existing bike paths to allow riders to pass each other.

The Greenway is not being designed as a high-speed cycling route. Instead, as a traffic-free, relatively flat route, the Greenway is a safe facility for people of all ages and physical abilities.

A complete travel route composed of carefully chosen and field-checked on-road linkages is defined and mapped, allowing experienced cyclists to use the entire route today. 

Here’s a video the group put out earlier this year discussing the project and updating interested parties on 2016 and beyond.

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