A bold initiative calling for the dismantling of the Sheridan Expressway, 200,000 square feet of commercial space, 1,200 units of affordable housing and the creation of a greenway linking parks along the Bronx River was discussed by community members at a town hall meeting on Tuesday, November 10 at The Point Community Development Corporation (CDC).
The Point CDC, located at 940 Garrison Avenue in Hunts Point, belongs to the Southern Bronx River Watershed Alliance, a seven-member grassroots group pushing for the Sheridan Expressway’s demise.
Mothers on the Move, Nos Quedamos, The Pratt Center for Community Development, Sustainable South Bronx, Tri-State Transportation Campaign and Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice round out the Southern Bronx River Watershed Alliance.
“The Sheridan Expressway is a redundant and little-used road,” said Kyle Wiswall, general counsel at the Tri-State Transportation Campaign. “Given the [potential] benefits of 28 acres of open green space combined with affordable housing and mixed use development, this [would be] gift.”
The dismantling of the state-maintained Sheridan Expressway would open its footprint to the city, Wiswall added. It and the elevation of the Bruckner Expressway across the Bronx River would allow for the reconnection of streets and neighborhoods, Southern Bronx Watershed Alliance members argued. The expressways today sever Faile Street and Longfellow Avenue.
The fight over the fate of the Sheridan Expressway hints at disruption caused by the construction of the Sheridan, Bruckner and Cross Bronx expressways in the 1960s. Some people think that the expressways quickened the onset of urban blight in the central Bronx.
But others, particularly those who work in or around the food markets of Hunts Point, see the Sheridan Expressway as a necessary conduit to the Cross Bronx Expressway and George Washington Bridge. The only other way for trucks to reach the Cross Bronx Expressway directly is the Major Deegan Expressway.
“I have 20 to 25 vehicles that move in and out of Hunts Point every day,” said John Reilly of B & S Auto Springs. “There’s one access ramp off the Major Deegan for the Cross Bronx. They would need to build at least three more truck ramps on the Major Deegan to handle the increased traffic if the Sheridan were no long in operation.”