Open space on the site should be developed to integrate with adjoining parkland and streets. Open space will be designed to maximize opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to incorporate physical activity in their daily routine. They will also be designed to maximize access to the Bronx River, not only for residents of the site, but for the surrounding communities as well. – Community Redevelopment Principles –
Although the Bronx has the most park acreage of any New York City borough, the South Bronx has the smallest ratio of parks to people. Evenso, there are several new exciting developments in the South Bronx; Barretto Point Park and Riverside Park are finished, and Concrete Plant Park and Starlight Park are to be complete in the near future.
The South Bronx Greenway Plan has also outlined a future system of safe pedestrian and bicycle routes in the South Bronx, which would give people an alternative to public transportation and would also provide an opportunity to exercise and get around the neighborhood.
Concrete Plant Park begins just North of the Bruckner Expressway on the West bank of the Bronx River and ends at Weschester Ave. Starlight Park will be between 172nd and 174th St on the West side of the Bronx River.
Currently Concrete Plant Park and Starlight Park are isolated from residential communities by Sheridan Expressway. These parks will be beautiful new additions to the South Bronx landscape, but access remains an important issue. What is the purpose of building these parks if no one can get to them?
USING GREEN SPACE TO GET AROUND
The Greenway system’s goal is to create safe pedestrian and bicycle routes on popular roads so that people are given the option to walk or bike to work, home, the store, the train, or the waterfront. The South Bronx Greenway plan hopes to build Greenways on Lafayette Avenue, Bruckner Blvd, Hunts Point Ave. and Food Center Drive.
Greenways not only create safe paths for people to places, but they also help beautify the streetscape and help the environment by cutting down on our dependence on gasoline. They also give us a safe place to exercise, and Greenway maintenance provides job opportunities.
Our New Community Plan includes plans for a new system of Greenways on the West bank of the Bronx River. These Greenways would travel through Concrete Plant Park and connect to the South Bronx Greenway to the South and the Bronx River Greenway to the North.
Our plans to create a mixed-use (commerical, retail, and manufacturing) space on the Sheridan land means that people would be able to safely bike or walk to the supermarket, retail shops, friend’s houses, the park, the river, and the 6 train.
CONNECTING NEIGHBORHOODS, IMPROVING PUBLIC HEALTH
Public health is a very serious issue in the South Bronx. A recent study also showed that children living by busy highways develop less lung capacity which can lead to respiratory problems for the rest of their lives. This is proved by the statistic that the South Bronx has some of the highest child-asthma rates in the country.
One out of four South Bronx children suffer from obesity. The Bronx has the highest rate of diabetes in NYC, and South Bronx residents are 5-8 times more likely to die from diabetes than people living in wealthier neighborhoods.
In our Community Visioning Sessions, residents said that the community desperately needed places to exercise. Exercising fights obesity, asthma, and diabetes, and is necessary to live a healthy and long life. To accomodate the community’s desires, our New Community Plan includes the following:
- Outdoor swimming pool
- Indoor recreational facility
- Soccer field at Starlight Park
- Baseball fields
- Tennis courts
- Concrete Plant Park
- Bike paths that cross the Bronx River, connect to existing bus stops/train stations, and connect to the Bronx River Greenway and the South Bronx Greenway
- Safe pedestrian paths for walking
- Green open space on both sides of the Bronx River
Our plan prioritizes walking and bicycling, and limits vehicle access. Green open space and open facilities would be on both sides of the river, and safe paths crossing the Bronx River would connect the Bronx River and Soundview communities with Crotona Park East and Longwood.
In the South Bronx it is typical to see elementary and middle schools by massive four- to six-lane highways. There are more than 72 elementary, middle, high, charter, and private schools around the Sheridan in Community Boards 2, 3, and 9, and more than half of those schools are elementary and middle schools.
The 2000 census stated that 11% of the population in the Sheridan area were over 60 years old and 36% were under 18 years old. Nearly half of our communities is either elderly or young people. It is a top priority to keep our elderly safe and healthy, and to make sure that our young people are healthy and creating long-term healthy habits.
Our New Community Plan provides existing communities places to exercise, play, relax, learn, and grow. Studies have shown that green spaces bring people outside, gets people to exercise, increases self-esteem, betters school performance, reduces crime, and creates a more attractive neighborhood.
Along with more exercise spaces, the New Community would offer daycare centers, health centers, an arts center, and other services that a community needs to thrive. The Community Plan’s main overarching goal is to help improve the overall quality of life for South Bronx residents.
The legacy of neglect for the South Bronx can be seen in our health, our children’s health, our environment, and our landscape. By pushing to demap the Sheridan, we are taking charge of our public health and quality of life and demanding something better.