The City of New York recently concluded its two-year, federally-funded study of the Sheridan Expressway with a set of transformative recommendations, many of which build on design alternatives developed by the Pratt Center and advocated for over a decade by the Southern Bronx River Watershed Alliance (SBRWA). The City’s proposal would narrow the Sheridan’s roadbed and provide safe crossings to the Bronx River and the Greenway parks. It would also re-route trucks away from residential communities, stimulate local economic development, and free up land that could be developed for affordable housing and other community uses. The recommendations, developed by a collaboration between New York City’s Departments of City Planning, Transportation, Housing Preservation and Development, as well as the Economic Development Corporation and the Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability, directly reflect and validate the SBRWA’s tireless research, organizing, and advocacy.
SBRWA is a coalition of seven community-based and citywide organizations: The Pratt Center for Community Development, Mothers on the Move, Nos Quedamos, The Point CDC, Sustainable South Bronx, Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice, and Tri-State Transportation Campaign. For almost 15 years SBRWA, has advocated for the removal of the Sheridan, which physically divides several low-income communities of color that face numerous environmental and health challenges. A 1.2 mile remnant from the twilight of the Robert Moses era, the Sheridan is underutilized and badly-designed, contributing little to the region’s mobility while barricading South Bronx communities from the River they have struggled to reclaim.
By transforming the Sheridan, the City can mitigate the health and safety impacts of vehicular traffic in the overburdened area while actually improving truck access to the Hunts Point Food Distribution Center and surrounding industries. While the City’s plan doesn’t call for the complete removal of the Sheridan that the SBRWA has advocated, it nonetheless advances substantive components of our community-driven vision for healthy and sustainable neighborhoods in which low- and moderate-income residents can thrive.
The Pratt Center will continue to work as a member of SBRWA to secure a commitment by the State Department of Transportation to complete an environmental review of the City’s recommendations as well as to advocate for a remedy of the problematic Bruckner-Sheridan interchange, four-way direct access into the Hunts Point peninsula from the Bruckner Expressway, and the closure of all dangerous exit and entry points to the Sheridan. We will also continue to work with SBRWA to ensure that new development is accountable to community needs.
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