SMITHFIELD – The East Coast Greenway Alliance and Friends of Johnston County Parks held a ceremonial sign event Monday afternoon to promote the positive impacts of cycling in Johnston County.
Representatives from the East Coast Greenway (ECG) Alliance, Friends of Johnston County Parks, Johnston County Parks & Open Space, Johnston County Visitor’s Bureau, and Smithfield Parks and Recreation gathered at the Bob Wallace Jaycee Kiddie Park on South Second Street for the event. The Park is a trailhead to the Smithfield Neuse River Parkway and part of the east Coast Greenway. Johnston County Commissioner Butch Lawter was also in attendance.
The event also promoted the East Coast Greenway Alliance and Cycle North Carolina’s upcoming Mountains to Coast Ride, which will make a stop at Smithfield Community Park on Thursday, October 7th as part of the tour. An estimated 700 cyclists will be in Smithfield Thursday and spend the night at the Smithfield Recreation & Acquatics Center before continuing the ride eastward on Friday.
Stretching 3,000 miles from Maine to Florida, the East Coast Greenway connects 15 states and 450 communities. North Carolina’s Triangle region is the most complete metro area along the entire Greenway route with 75 miles of nearly continuous protected pathways from North Durham to the Town of Clayton. Total mileage of the East Coast Greenway routes in North Carolina, which includes both the spine route and the complementary route, is 795 miles.
In June, Governor Cooper signed HB130, designating the East Coast Greenway as an official State Trail. The East Coast Greenway’s total economic impact on the Triangle is over $90 million in total benefits per year.
The East Coast Greenway offers not only great cycling, but also opportunities for walking, hiking, strolling, and running. It can be used for short or long distances and it provides healthy access to the river and tourism sights, as well as links people to places all along the eastern coast of the United States.
Until the ECG is completely off road on greenway and paths, the routes utilized shared public road spaces. Everyone is encouraged to share these spaces with care and follow the rules of the road. Motorists are reminded to always change lanes when passing road riding cyclists or provide at least four feet of clearance in accordance with NC driving laws.
The Cycle NC event will ride sections of the East Coast Greenway. According to Cycle North Carolina’s website, “The Cycle North Carolina Mountains to Coast Ride is a 7-day, fully supported bicycle tour traveling along scenic back roads that showcase rural North Carolina. The ride is designed to promote physical fitness, good health and the scenic beauty of North Carolina.”
“Cycling is not just about recreation,” said Dave Herpy with the Friends of Johnston County Parks. “The East Coast Greenway and events like Cycle North Carolina’s Mountains to Coast Ride provide positive economic impacts on our local communities here in Johnston County, as well as health benefits from an active lifestyle.”