Think of it as a kind of Appalachian Trail for the bicycle set. When finished, the East Coast Greenway would be a 3,000-mile bike path running all the way from Calais, Maine, down to Key West, Florida.
While it’s already possible to bike from Maine to Florida (as ECGA Board Chair Bob Spiegelman did in 2012), more than two thirds of the route don’t yet conform to the standards of a designated bike path—namely a width that enables bikers to safely pass each other, and pavement sturdy enough to support touring bikes.
The East Coast Greenway Alliance (ECGA), recently featured on CityLab, has been working since 1991 to fix all that and create the coastal route. About 850 miles of the 3,000-mile trail have been designated as a part of the Greenway, with another 200 miles anticipated to be added by 2020. That rate could continue accelerating with the growing popularity of biking.
ECGA’s approach is a unique one. Rather than using their funding to create the bike path directly, the group recruits locals to work within their own communities to bring segments of the path up to code.
The result is a winding route following rivers and old train tracks through 15 states and roughly 450 towns. “It’s about seeing America at the right speed, where you can take in all of the culture around you,” ECGA Executive Director Dennis Markatos-Soriano tells CityLab. “And you don’t have a windshield between yourself and the community.” Do check out the full story here.