The Expressway restricts access to the revitalized Bronx River, new parks such as Concrete Plant Park and Starlight Park, and the South Bronx Greenway. It forces trucks to drive through neighborhood streets and cars to idle in traffic, harming pedestrians and restricting safe biking. Local asthma rates are among the highest in the nation and are exacerbated by poorly configured roadways in the area. Development around the Expressway is hampered by poor pedestrian and traffic connections, which limit the prospects for new affordable housing, small businesses, and jobs.
In 1999, the Southern Bronx River Watershed Alliance (SBRWA) was formed to work for the removal of the Sheridan Expressway and the transformation of the South Bronx into a model of sustainable land use, environmental progress, and economic viability., In addition to Pratt Center, SBRWA includes Mothers on the Move, The Point CDC, Sustainable South Bronx, Tri-State Transportation Campaign, We Stay/Nos Quedamos, and Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice. We believe the transformation of land use around the existing Expressway provides the greatest potential to save lives, improve environmental health, encourage climate resiliency, and support jobs and affordable housing in this distressed community.
In 2006, SBRWA initiated a visioning process that resulted in a community plan to transform the neighborhoods surrounding the Sheridan Expressway. This plan laid the foundation for New York City’s receipt of a $1.5 million competitive Federal grant in 2010 to study potential land use changes to the Sheridan Expressway corridor and Hunts Point area.
In June 2013, heavily influenced by SBRWA’s work, the City unveiled a series of land use recommendations that will begin a transformation of the Sheridan Expressway Corridor and surrounding neighborhoods— if City and State agencies advance the recommendations. After 14 years of advocacy, we have a unique opportunity to work with City and State officials to implement a land use plan with shared consensus and address decades of neglect. SBRWA is continuing to advocate for an Environmental Impact Study (EIS) for the City’s highway and land use recommendations, build a broad base of political support for decommissioning the Expressway, push for local legislation in support of decommissioning, and continue to educate and mobilize community members around this crucial issue.