Great Recession Doesn't Stop Trail Progress
Amidst the horrific oil spill it's nice to see solid progress on one of our nation's premier oil independent transportation corridors. The East Coast Greenway (ECG) just released its State of the Trail Report 2010, revealing that the 3,000-mile trail from Maine to Florida completed a banner year. Despite the worst economy since the Great Depression as GDP fell more than 2%, the East Coast Greenway grew its mileage of safe multi-use trail. In fact, the ECG grew almost twice as fast as China's white-hot economy, by a staggering 14.7 percent in 2009.
Trail growth means green jobs in design and construction along the route from the Canadian border at Calais, Maine all the way to Key West, Florida. Thousands of people use segments of the East Coast Greenway for their daily commute and a growing number of individuals have biked the whole route. The ECG is the "urban sister to the Appalachian Trail," linking major cities of the east coast for walkers, bicyclists, wheelchair users, and other non-motorized travelers.
Last year's greenway construction and designation helped to increase the mix of greenway to almost 25% of the route, while the other 75% remains on roads that have been checked for safety and may include bike lanes or wide shoulders.
Part of the 2009 growth is attributable to stimulus funding that began to flow to trail construction. We are proud that the construction of our trail can help provide three of the ingredients needed for economic recovery: jobs, low-cost transportation, and lower health costs due to better fitness and improved air quality. If we continue to grow at this quick pace, our East Coast Greenway will be safe and accessible to millions of Americans within a few years.
The East Coast Greenway is poised to grow even faster in 2010. Much of the growth will take place in Maine, where more than 50 miles of new trail are underway from close to Acadia National Park toward the Canada border (locally referred to as the Down East Sunrise Trail). If growth continues at such a quick pace then our route will be safe and accessible to all within a few short years, becoming a national treasure for generations to come.
For the full 8.5 MB report, go to:
Background on ECGA:
The East Coast Greenway Alliance is a 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to establishing a safe, accessible 3,000-mile greenway from Maine to Florida through major urban centers along the east coast. Mobilizing our network of staff, volunteers and partners, ECGA works to achieve its vision of an extensive bike/pedestrian corridor that links communities to the areas of natural beauty around them. By serving non-motorized users of all abilities and ages, the East Coast Greenway will help people safely bicycle or walk for their daily commutes to work, school, and play as well as for long-distance travel. The greenway will help free America from its expensive and polluting dependence on oil, lower health costs by improving citizens' fitness, address climate change and air quality concerns by reducing pollution, and provide good construction and maintenance jobs to help our economy recover. Further details and information on how people can support the project can be found at www.greenway.org.