Biking, walking trail proposed for eastern counties

Published 1:52 pm Wednesday, August 15, 2018

A rural corridor study is underway by East Coast Greenway Alliance, a Durham-based group intending to actualize a 3,000-mile biking and walking trail from Maine to Key West, Florida.

Kathryn Zeringue, ECGA’s southeastern coordinator, intends to visit eastern North Carolina counties in October to begin discussions about the rural corridor, reported Angela Walsh, director of the Albemarle Rural Planning Organization.

The rural corridor will extend from Richmond, Virginia, to Wilmington, N.C., touching Elizabeth City, Hertford, Edenton, Windsor, Williamston, Greenville, Washington, Belhaven, Aurora, New Bern, Oriental, Beaufort, Cape Carteret, Jacksonville, North Topsail Beach, and Wilmington, ECGA’s website map shows, while the main route traverses the state through Durham, Raleigh, Fayetteville, and Wilmington.

The ARPO will be providing Zerinque “stakeholder contact information as well as helping to set up meeting locations” for her October visit, Walsh stated.

The East Coast Greenway is “the nation’s longest connected biking and walking route. Imagine a place where bicyclists, walkers, runners, inline skaters, horseback riders, wheelchair users, cross-country skiers and more — of all ages and abilities — feel safe, for commuting and recreation,” the group’s website states.

Dennis Markatos-Soriano, executive director, and a staff of 11 work alongside volunteers, partners, and elected officials to complete the greenway and promote its use, the Alliance reports.

Ten million users annually enjoy visits to the East Coast Greenway, ECG’s website proclaims.

ECGA’s mission is to partner with local, state, and national agencies and organizations to promote the establishment, stewardship, and public enjoyment of a safe and accessible multi-user greenway linking cities and towns from Maine to Florida.

ECGA is seeking federal funding for three proposals in North Carolina:

  1. Durham Belt Line Trail: connecting communities to the heart of Durham; $6 million construction request. The Durham Belt Line is an envisioned multi-use trail and linear park that stretches 1.75 miles and is comprised of 17 acres of former railroad right-of-way. A .25 mile segment would become part of the East Coast Greenway.
  2. NC Rural Corridor Study, 160 miles, $750,000 planning request. This project aims to transform rural communities in North Carolina through a collaborative, innovative approach to integrating sustainable transportation and broadband infrastructure.
  3. Brunswick County Greenway Trail: Connecting Rural Communities in Brunswick County; 12.5 miles, $12.1 million construction request.