Four out of six phases have officially been completed for one of the Bronx’s busiest thoroughfares.
City agencies, including the NYC Department of Transportation (DOT), the NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) announced the completion of the latest phase of the Grand Concourse reconstruction at a Sept. 8 press conference.
Phase 4, which was completed on schedule at a cost of $62.5 million, consisted of the reconstruction of portions of the Grand Concourse, from East 175th Street to Fordham Road. In total, more than $100 million has been spent on through the first four phases of this project.
According to DOT officials. new enhancements for this portion of the heavily-trafficked corridor include safety features such as improved pedestrian access and better street lighting, along with the installation of bike lanes, wider and planted medians as well as bollards, the latter of which are used to create protective and architectural perimeters and help to guide traffic.
“The Grand Concourse is one of the crown jewels of our borough that serves as a major throughway for our residents and families,” said Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson. “We are now one step closer to making the Grand Concourse safer for residents and visitors to the borough with high visibility crosswalks, curb extensions and ornamental street lighting among some of the major changes to this historic corridor.”
According to DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez, the rate of crashes where pedestrians were killed or seriously injured along the Grand Concourse corridor, has dropped by 40% in the last five years, compared to the previous five-year period.
“We are proud to now have the beautiful, tree-lined boulevard that Bronxites deserve, with so many new amenities — as well as the new bicycle lanes, traffic signals and raised crosswalks that we know will make these communities safer,” said Rodriguez, a former Bronx councilmember.
The previous phase of the Grand Concourse project (Phase 3), which redid the thoroughfare from 171st to 175th streets, included the replacement of street lighting and traffic signals, as well as adding new pedestrian safety features.
This portion of the project was completed in August of 2020 at a cost of $26 million.
The fifth phase, which will span from East Fordham Road north to East 198th Street, is expected to begin in mid-2024 and be completed in September 2027, according to DOT.
The sixth and final phase will reconstruct the southern part of Grand Concourse, from 138th to 161st streets.
The overall project, which runs from East 138th Street northbound to Mosholu Parkway, has included the replacement of almost 388,000 square feet of sidewalks along the Grand Concourse — equivalent to nearly nine acres — as well as more than 40,000 feet of new steel and concrete curbs, equating to more than seven and a half miles.
Additionally, a total of 83 new trees were planted and 13 fire hydrants were replaced with new ones, while more than 2,000 feet of water mains and sewers were replaced during the first four phases of the work.
The drainage network of the Grand Concourse also consists of nearly twice as many catch basins, which are used to capture stormwater, according to DEP Commissioner Robit Aggarwala.
“This project makes this ‘Great Street’ safer for pedestrians and bikers, and includes many tools in the city’s engineering tool belt — all delivered on-time and on-budget for this Bronx community,” said DDC Commissioner Thomas Foley.
According to the city’s Vision Zero plan to improve street safety, its Great Streets initiative invested and made improvements to five major routes around the city — including Queens and Northern boulevards in Queens and Fourth and Atlantic avenues in Brooklyn, as well as the Grand Concourse. In 2017, Great Streets began the $48 million construction of its first priority corridor, Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn. The first phase of that project was completed in June of 2020, according to DOT.
Vision Zero, which was launched in 2014 during former Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration to eliminate traffic deaths and serious injuries on streets throughout the five boroughs by 2024, included decreasing the city’s speed limit from 30 to 25 mph, among other safety enhancements.
Original construction of the Grand Concourse, which runs for more than four miles through the Bronx from East 138th Street northbound to Mosholu Parkway, began in 1897 and was completed in 1909, according to website Welcome2TheBronx.
Reach Steven Goodstein at [email protected] or (718) 260-4561. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes