The recently passed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act includes increases in funding for greenways and active transportation infrastructure and improvements in bicycle-pedestrian policy, which could lead to completion of the East Coast Greenway, a transformative, 3,000-mile project linking 450 communities throughout our nation’s most populous corridor.
A soon-to-be completed project linking Maryland and Delaware along the East Coast Greenway route is symbolic of the connectivity that can result from visionary investment in equitable, active transportation networks for all.
Delaware’s Elkton Road Pathway (pictured here) is nearly complete. The asphalt is laid and bridges are in place; only a few road crossings need to be finished before the 1.6-mile pathway is open to all for safe transportation and recreation. This new East Coast Greenway segment will connect Newark and New Castle County, Delaware, to Cecil County, Maryland, and onto Elkton, Maryland, via 4 miles of low-stress roadways.
“On behalf of the East Coast Greenway Alliance and our millions of trail enthusiasts, I would like to thank all involved in the bipartisan effort to pass this historic Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act,” said Executive Director Dennis Markatos-Soriano.
The non-profit East Coast Greenway Alliance leads the development of the East Coast Greenway, which is designed to transform the 15 states and 450 communities it connects through active and healthy lifestyles, sustainable and equitable transportation, community engagement, climate resilience, active tourism and more.
“Our team is thrilled to work alongside state departments of transportation to plan and build transformative projects throughout our corridor that complete the Greenway. We look forward to hosting Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg at future East Coast Greenway ribbon cuttings in the years to come.”
The crossing of state lines via the Elkton Road Pathway is significant for the East Coast Greenway, a developing bicycle-pedestrian route connecting 15 states and Washington, D.C. In 2020, the Greenway surpassed 1,000 miles of protected pathways and became the most visited park in America by hosting more than 50 million bike rides, runs and walks from Maine to Florida.
Through a 60 percent increase in funding for Transportation Alternatives and $1.5 billion per year slated for federal RAISE grants, the Infrastructure Bill could have a significant impact on continued East Coast Greenway development in the very near future. Several key Greenway projects await news on potential funding via RAISE grants in 2021, including the Mystic River pedestrian bridge in greater Boston, Philadelphia’s Spring Garden Street Greenway (pictured below) and North Carolina’s Durham Beltline.
“The recent passage of the Infrastructure Bill is a big step forward and a win for our Greenway Stimulus effort,” Markatos-Soriano says. “However, there is still major work to be done in the critical implementation phase. And the passage of the Build Back Better Bill could be a further game-changer for creating greenways for all from Maine to Florida and beyond.”
Full information on the East Coast Greenway Alliance can be found at this link.