In March, Gov. Andrew Cuomo unveiled the latest development in a plan to replace the Sheridan Expressway, which has been a sore point in the South Bronx ever since it was built by Robert Moses decades ago.
The mile-long stretch of interstate highway, which connects the Bruckner Expressway and the Cross Bronx Expressway, cuts off local residents from the Bronx River. Advocates have been pushing, since at least the 1990s, to remove the Sheridan Expressway, which would allow easier access to the revitalized waterfront and redirect truck traffic to reduce pollution.
The governor’s $1.8 billion plan calls for removing the expressway, bringing it down to street level and converting it into a more pedestrian friendly boulevard. The plan envisions several additional changes as well, including a flyover ramp to divert trucks from local streets, a new lane on the Bruckner-Sheridan interchange to ease traffic congestion and a new eastbound exit from Bruckner directly to the busy Hunts Point Market. The heavy truck traffic has been cited as a factor in the high asthma rates in the neighborhood.
The initial phase, which will cost $700 million and would convert the interstate to a boulevard, could be completed by spring 2019, according to the Cuomo administration.
Bronx officials applauded the development this spring. Assemblyman Marcos Crespo, who represents the South Bronx district that includes the interchange, was effusive in his praise. “After decades of ideas and proposals to address the ill effects of this highway system on our community, I am delighted that Gov. Cuomo brings solutions,” Crespo said in Cuomo’s press release. “The South Bronx is becoming a thriving community of economic excitement and activity thanks to the unyielding commitment of Gov. Cuomo. This project will build on that momentum, improving our transportation infrastructure and increasing access to open spaces to ensure the continued transformation of the Bronx into a buoyant, flourishing economic hub.”
However, some advocates have said the plans fall short. One complaint is that even at ground level, the Sheridan will still be too much like a highway. Another is that it won’t do enough to reduce truck traffic. Crespo’s office did not respond to a request for comment.