Fifteen states, 3,000 miles, one bike path. This is the Greenway Bike Trail, already over 850 miles long, or about 32 percent complete (with another 200 miles expected to be completed in the next four years). The non-profit 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. “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 project intends to 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 percent 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 trail actually connects several existing bike paths that were previously unaffiliated: a trail following the length of the Hudson River in New York, a 25-mile-long path along the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia.
These trails are now part of the Greenway Bike Trail, thanks to work by ECGA founders in the early ’90s who wanted to connect them.
The Greenway Bike Trail uses the rivers and train tracks that connect the east coast as guidelines. Currently, the trail has more than 40,000 supporters and volunteers and gets more than 11 million visits per year, according to the ECGA.
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
To learn more about the Greenway Bike Trail, plan a route or even read “trail tales” from previous riders, visit www.greenway.org/explore.
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