State Investing Nearly $2 Billion in Improvements for South Bronx
Real Estate In-Depth | December 18, 2019
NEW YORK—Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced on Dec. 11 that the $75-million transformation of the Sheridan Expressway from an interstate highway to a pedestrian-friendly boulevard is now complete, giving South Bronx residents and visitors a direct connection to the Bronx River waterfront and Starlight Park.
The transformational project is part of a $1.8 billion state investment in the South Bronx that was detailed by the governor. With the new and improved Sheridan project now complete, the governor also announced that work is now underway on a $598-million design-build highway improvement in the South Bronx, the first phase of a massive, $1.7-billion project to transform the neighborhood by reconstructing the interchange of the Bruckner Expressway and new Sheridan Boulevard, and improving access to the Hunts Point Market.
“For far too long, South Bronx residents have contended with noise, traffic and physical barriers that have limited mobility and economic growth,” Gov. Cuomo said. “Even worse, generations of children had to contend with the pollution and asthma from truck traffic in the community. The new and improved Sheridan Boulevard corrects the planning mistakes of the past by protecting the health and safety of the South Bronx, by reconnecting local neighborhoods, and by improving access to the nearby Bronx River waterfront and parks.”
He added, “The new Hunts Point project will build upon that success, further connecting the neighborhood to parks and the waterfront while reducing traffic on local streets and making it easier than ever to access the Hunts Point Market and the significant commerce it generates in the borough and throughout the entire region.”
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., said, “This project has transformed an outdated interstate highway into a boulevard giving residents and visitors a direct connection to the Bronx waterfront and parks. This project realizes a vision Bronx residents have dreamed of for decades, and truly could not have happened without the governor’s leadership, and I thank him for helping to ensure the Bronx continues to grow and thrive for generations to come.”
The Sheridan Boulevard project reconfigured the Sheridan Expressway into an urban boulevard, reconnecting the Crotona Park, West Farms and Soundview neighborhoods. It includes three new crosswalks, as well as a new two-way bikeway along Edgewood Road leading to Starlight Park and the Bronx River Greenway. A new pedestrian bridge over the Bronx River connects Starlight Park to the multi-use path across the river and provides continuous travel for pedestrians and cyclists along the Bronx River Greenway.
Hunts Point Project
The Hunts Point project, to be completed in three phases, will provide direct access to the Hunts Point Market from both the Bruckner Expressway and the new Sheridan Boulevard. The market is one of the largest wholesale food distribution centers in the world. More than 78,000 vehicles travel to the Hunts Point Peninsula daily—including 13,000 trucks using local roads—which has contributed to poor air quality in the community.
The highway redesign will take traffic off local roadways, significantly reducing both noise and air pollution in a borough with some of the highest asthma rates in the country. The transformational project is expected to create 22,000 new jobs.
Beginning this month, the first phase of the project will build three new ramps—a two-way ramp from Edgewater Road to the Sheridan and a ramp from eastbound Bruckner Expressway to Edgewater Road. It will replace four bridges over Bronx River Avenue and Amtrak/CSX rail lines, as well as improve the intersection of Bruckner Boulevard and Hunts Point Avenue. The current overgrown Garrison Park will be transformed, giving residents access to the Bronx River. It also will construct a shared-use path between Concrete Plant Park and Garrison Park, enhancing safety for pedestrians and bicyclists.
The project will improve the Lafayette Avenue intersection and build two new shared use paths along Edgewater Road and Bruckner Boulevard westbound. Under the Bronx River Avenue viaduct, new open space along the Bronx River will be constructed for the community. The portion of the Bryant Avenue pedestrian bridge spanning over Amtrak/CSX will be replaced.
The project is being managed by the New York State Department of Transportation and is scheduled for completion in the fall of 2022.
New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez said, “This initiative will reduce congestion and enhance safety for pedestrians and cyclists in the South Bronx, improving access to the Hunts Point Market, drawing the community together and connecting it with the Bronx River and local parks.”
The Hunts Point Market is a vital economic engine for the Bronx, generating more than $2 billion in annual economic activity, state officials noted. It attracts tens of thousands of vehicles per day, which use local streets—particularly Westchester Avenue and Bruckner Boulevard—to go to and from the interstate highway network.
The overall reconstruction project will transform the local roadway system by creating a flyover ramp from the new Sheridan Boulevard and a new eastbound exit from the Bruckner Expressway to Edgewater Road, which feeds directly into the market. The Sheridan ramp will remove heavy traffic and idling trucks from local roads and is expected to reduce travel time by an average of 30% for each truck that now travels on local streets. For westbound traffic on the Bruckner, the second phase of the Hunts Point project will construct new entrance and exit ramps at Leggett Avenue for more direct access to the market.
The third phase of the project will eliminate the bottleneck at the Bruckner/Sheridan interchange by adding a third lane to the Bruckner in both directions. New signage and pavement markings will direct auto, truck and pedestrian traffic within the Hunts Point Peninsula.