Imagine a transcontinental network of protected bike paths

Under an elevated rail line in Miami, a new park will open this fall with a 10-mile path dedicated to walking and biking. It’s an infrastructure improvement for Miami cyclists, but it’s also part of a larger, interstate network of trails that will eventually make it possible to ride from Florida to Maine with little interaction with cars. And even that enormous project is itself just a small part of an even bigger dream: a network of protected bike lanes connecting cities across the country, making it possible to bike from city to city—and ocean to ocean—safely.

Called the Underline, the park in Miami will link into the East Coast Greenway project and is an example of the kind of trail that could form car-free connections across the entire country. “The projects are out there,” says Dennis Markatos-Soriano, East Coast Greenway Alliance executive director. “They just need the funding to complete design and construction.”

[Photo: courtesy East Coast Greenway Alliance]

The group is now advocating for a greenway stimulus as a way to create a full national network of connected bike and pedestrian paths while simultaneously helping the economy recover from the pandemic. Ten billion dollars invested in greenways, Markatos-Soriano says, could support 170,000 jobs across the country. It could also generate another $100 billion in health and environmental benefits.

[Photo: courtesy East Coast Greenway Alliance]

“Economists agree that we need fiscal stimulus, and the consensus is building that a big focus should be supporting jobs through infrastructure investments,” he says. “But building more highways will just make fires, hurricanes, and flooding worse by further destabilizing the climate. Greenway construction supports 50% more jobs than highway construction, and it’s building the transportation systems that people want and need right now.”

Other ambitious greenway projects are underway, including the Great American