Fifteen states, 3,000 miles, one bike path. This is the vision for the East Coast Greenway trail, already over 1,000 miles long as of 2020. The nonprofit organization East Coast Greenway Alliance (ECGA) is in charge of the 3,000-mile bike path that will stretch from Calais, Maine, to Key West, Florida.
“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 said in an interview with CityLab in 2016. “And you don’t have a windshield between yourself and the community.”
Here’s Calais, Maine, the trail’s starting point, which sits just across the river from Canada.
The project has been underway since 1991, building different segments of the trail that will eventually link together. The completed portions of the trail are able to be biked right now, and you can plan out your route using the Greenway map here.
The trail will ultimately go through 15 states and 450 communities along the East Coast of the U.S.
Here’s a map of the bike path from the ECGA.
One of the ECGA Board of Trustees, Bob Spiegelman biked the entire length of the Greenway, from Calais, Maine, to Key West, Florida, in 2012, according to CityLab.
The trail ends in Key West, Florida, which is the southernmost point of the continental U.S.
Project Run By Local Volunteers
Spearheaded by the ECGA, the trail relies almost entirely on local volunteers to ensure the path is up to code.
Because it’s a volunteer-based project, the EGCA can’t say exactly when the trail will be finished. The goal is to have a 95% traffic-free route by the year 2030.
Why “traffic-free”? Well, the trail is intended to be completely off-road once it is finished. Any current on-road sections are considered “interim” and not technically finished, although they may be safe to bike.
Connecting Paths To Blaze New Trails
The bike trail uses the rivers and train tracks that connect the east coast as guidelines, and even connects several existing bike paths that were previously unaffiliated: a trail following the length of the Hudson River in New York, for example, and a 25-mile-long path along the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia.
Check out the announcement for the addition of the Schuylkill River Trail, posted in 2018 by the East Coast Greenway Twitter account.
Big, exciting news this week for Philadelphia and all of us! A @USDOT grant will help fund the last piece of the city's Schuylkill River Trail, a favorite stretch of the East Coast Greenway. @bcgp @PECPA @WilliamPennFdn https://t.co/0NDVigtuHM pic.twitter.com/wsE3RtZLzv
— East Coast Greenway (@ECGreenway) March 9, 2018
These trails are now part of the East Coast Greenway, thanks to work by ECGA founders who wanted to connect them.
To learn more about the East Coast Greenway and plan your route, visit the website.