A North Carolina-based group is building a new kind of interstate: a 3,000 mile pathway from Maine to Florida.
Someday soon walkers, joggers and cyclists up and down the Atlantic seaboard will be able to share the road, with no cars allowed. That’s the idea behind the East Coast Greenway, a paved, urban trail spanning 3,000 miles from Calais, Maine to Key West. The Greenway Alliance is working with state parks, local governments and conservation groups to connect existing trails along highways and waterfronts, and convert old railway lines. Herb Hiller is in charge of developing the 581 miles along Florida’s coast, and he says the path isn't just for long distance cyclists.
“Investments in the trail are investments in safe recreation, in physical fitness and health, in helping household economies,” Hiller said.
Organizers see the trail as part of a larger push to expand public transit and urban infrastructure. Younger generations are returning to the cities, spurring new interest in walkability and accessibility. Herb Hiller sees the trail as a new kind of thoroughfare that will connect communities across the coast.
“It’s a new future! And that’s what the greenway represents. It is riding a tide that seems to fit the American mood,” he said.
Organizers hopes to complete the greenway by 2025.