East Coast Greenway
Credit: Getty Images/Lonely Planet Images

The East Coast Greenway has been in development since 1991. Twenty-five years may seem like a long time to wait for a project, but some things are worth taking your time for.

When finished, the mega-project will connect all of the Eastern seaboard from Calais, Maine to Key West, Florida. Serious bikers will be able to take the whole thing 3,000 miles from North to South.

Currently, 850 miles of trail—about 30%—are already completed. But the project recently gained steam due to a blitz of media attention and increased funding. The Eastern Coast Greenway Association’s budget has doubled over the past six years and now by 2020, officials hope to add another 200 miles to the path.

The ECGA will rely on local governments’ support for much of the project. A lot of the Greenway will be made of already-existent bike routes. The project will link them all together and, when completed, it will pass through 450 towns in 15 different states.

Once it’s ready, it will be possible to complete the entire path in one month by biking 100 miles per day. However, that’s not the intent, according to its founders. The project hopes to encourage people to slow down and experience all that the Eastern seaboard has to offer by stopping to visit some of the sites and cities along the way.

“It’s about seeing America at the right speed, where you can take in all of the culture around you,” Dennis Markatos-Soriano, the executive director of ECGA, told City Lab. “And you don’t have a windshield between yourself and the community.”

Nobody’s quite certain when all 3,000 miles of the project will be ready, although officials theorize that the entire Greenway will be traffic-free by the 2030s. Those eager to get started can already bike large portions of the path and follow its progress on an interactive map.