Residents should be able to get around safely and efficiently without being forced to rely on cars. -Community Redevelopment Principles-
The Bronx has 1.4 million people living within its borders, but has the lowest number of car ownership in New York City. In the South Bronx, only 25% of residents own cars; the rest get around by public transportation.
The bus and subway routes are the lifeblood of these communities, and the way people get to bus and subway stations is by foot.
The safety of our community should be a top priority, but currently people have to fight with cars, trucks, and buses just to cross streets and go about their everyday lives.
By the Sheridan Expresswary there are two major pedestrian danger zones: one at Westchester Ave. and Whitlock Ave, and the other at Hunts Point Ave. and Bruckner Blvd. At both intersections, people who are walking to and from the subway stations have to dodge cars and large trucks while crossing four or six lane roads.
You can view a map showing what happens at these intersections here. Be sure to click on “Street-View” to see the intersections from the pedestrian level.
How to Make Our Streets Safer
Currently, trucks that are coming into Hunts Point from New York City use the Triborough Bridge, get on the Bruckner Expressway, quickly get off, and then use local streets to get to the Hunts Point markets.
Trucks from New England or anywhere else in the United States use the Cross Bronx Expressway, take the Sheridan, quickly get off, and then use local streets to get to Hunts Point.
Two major streets trucks use are Bruckner Blvd. and Whitlock Ave. Both streets run alongside major highways and both streets run in residential areas, as shown in the map below.
The yellow areas represent residential homes, the red areas represent major highways, and the green areas represent parks. As you can see, many people live by these highways and it is unsafe to have so many trucks on local streets. The diesel fumes and exhaust from the trucks also create a health hazard for the children and adults of the neighborhood.
From the beginning, our Community Plan has proposed to create an exit from the Bruckner onto Leggett Ave (labeled above) that would lead straight into Hunts Point and bypass the majority of residences in the area.
In July 2008 the SDOT proposed to build an interchange from the Bruckner at the Oak Point Freight Yard, just West of Leggett Ave that is a better version of our ramps! This is truly a victory because with the Oak Point ramps, trucks will be able to safely and efficiently reach all their destinations without passing through residential neighborhoods.
Elevating the Bruckner across the Bronx River
Another crucial element to our Community Plan is elevating the Bruckner Expressway and Blvd. over the Bronx River. Currently, the Bruckner Expwy/Blvd are at street-level from Faile St. to Bronx River Ave. Because of this, Faile St., Bryant Ave., Longfellow Ave., Whittier Ave., Edgewater Rd., and Bronx River Ave. are cut in half.
There is no way to safely cross the Bruckner or the Bronx River besides one pedestrian bridge. Elevating the Bruckner Expwy/Blvd so that both are above street-level clears away the traffic from street-level and reconnects those disconnected streets.
It would also provide safe bicycle and pedestrian lanes across the Bronx River. We’ve already seen that creating safe pedestrian walking zones is extremely important to this area, and elevating the Bruckner would give us that chance.
Taking down the Sheridan
During our community visioning sessions, many people said that creating safe and efficient car-alternatives was a top priority. Our land-use plan for the Sheridan lands prioritizes walking and bicycling, not cars.
Taking down the Sheridan and elevating the Bruckner would allow for safe pedestrian and bike routes to be made on all the major local streets in the area.
Hunts Point Ave. would be safe for pedestrians, and the Community Plan would allow for residents to safely access Concrete Plant Park and the Bronx River by foot or by bike.
The bike paths would all connect with the Bronx River Greenway and the South Bronx Greenway, giving people an alternative to the train/bus as well as a safe place to exercise.
The Community on the Sheridan lands would connect the existing neighborhoods of Longwood and West Farms to the Bronx River, the Greenway, Starlight Park, and Concrete Plant Park.
These neighborhoods currently cannot access these wonderful spaces because of the Sheridan Expressway, but with our Community Plan these communities will be able to walk and bike to the River.