Mobilizing the Region

Issue 177 June 19, 1998

Deconstructing a Redundant Roadway

The Sheridan Expressway extends from the Bruckner Expressway to the Cross Bronx Expressway along the Bronx River in the South Bronx. It runs a distance of only 1.25 miles. Due to its diminutive length and its redundancy (the Bruckner and Cross-Bronx are directly connected to the east and by the Deegan Expressway to the west) few vehicles use the road. In fact the highway's use decreased up to 22% from 1990 to 1995 according to the New York State Department of Transportation.

Despite low traffic volumes, the jerryrigged Bruckner-Sheridan interchange causes delays and accidents. In October, 1997, NYS DOT proposed a $245 million upgrade of the interchange to overcome these problems, and is planning the interchange upgrade now.

But this week, a coalition of Bronx civic and community development organizations and the Tri-State Campaign called on DOT to dig up the Sheridan and replace it with parkland along the Bronx River.

If the land under the Sheridan Expressway were converted to non-transportation uses, the interchange would be eliminated. Without the interchange, accidents and congestion at the Bruckner-Sheridan merge would not occur.

Both the high pedestrian accident rate at the interchange (which mixes local and highway traffic), and other negative health and environmental effects concern community groups. "Highways are a huge problem in the Bronx. They divide our neighborhoods, are noisy and pollute our air," said Yolanda Garcia, President of Nos Quedamos/We Stay, a community based organization in the South Bronx. "In a borough sliced up by big roads, we can do with one less."

The groups are also concerned with a general lack of open space in the South Bronx. In Hunts Point, Morrisania, and West Farms, the neighborhoods through which the Sheridan passes, there is less than 1.5 acres of park per thousand residents, compared to a national standard of 6 acres per thousand. These community thus has only 1/4 of the open space required for a decent quality of life. The highway covers twenty-eight acres of land, which could become the area's second largest park, after from Crotona Park.

The Tri-State Transportation Campaign drafted and submitted a concept paper, Redundant Roadway: Deconstructing the Bronx' Sheridan Expressway, to the New York State Department of Transportation. So far, DOT has not responded.

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