Change may soon be on the way for two of the borough’s most travelled expressways.
On Tuesday, April 14, the Bronx delegation of elected officials wrote Governor Cuomo for his support this upcoming state fiscal year to initiate an Environmental Impact Statement to study the construction and implementation of four-way ramps from the Bruckner to the Hunts Point peninsula and requested that city and state transportation agencies reclassify the Sheridan’s at-grade portion following the Sheridan Hunts Point Land Use and Transportation Study recommendations.
Completed in late 2013, the SEHP study recommends removing barriers to link the Sheridan’s northern section with existing services roads, building three traffic signal controlled crosswalks along the expressway for pedestrian crossing and rezonings to nurture a mix of uses along the waterfront while promoting growth and job opportunities around the community’s transit rich corridors.
Aided by the food industry and community stakeholders, the delegation has united in favoring Oak Point Avenue ramps into the peninsula and creating a narrow boulevard on the Sheridan’s at-grade half-mile portion.
The proposal will yield major economic developments benefitting Hunts Point’s industrial core, while significantly improving residents’ quality of life and health.
Lacking a direct link onto the peninsula causes 55,000 truck trips per week onto local streets whose emissions add to high asthma and related illnesses levels.
The EIS for the Oak Point ramps will aid significant joint public-private investment into Hunts Point’s industrial section which include the $30 million Regional Economic Development Council investment to upgrade and renovate the Hunts Point Produce Market and the $20 million federally funded Rebuild by Design resiliency project will safeguard this region’s primary food supply center.
Combining the Sheridan with the adjacent West Farms Road into a boulevard would establish 326,000 square feet of developable land near the Bronx River.
On March 25, 2014, the City Council approved Resolution 15 calling for access ramps from the Bruckner at Oak Point and retiring the Sheridan’s at-grade portion.
In his 2015 State of the Borough address, Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. called for advancing the Bruckner and Sheridan expressway’s redevelopment.
With state legislative elected officials’ support, Assemblyman Marcos Crespos established an advocacy campaign rallying for this proposal.
On March 5, Mayor de Blasio revealed over the next 12 years, his administration will invest $150 million into the Hunts Point food distribution center and its nearby neighborhood’s fortification and revitalization.
“In its current condition, the Sheridan and the surrounding community suffer from traffic congestions, unsafe and confusing pedestrian walkways and lack of accessibility to our local parks. Our residents deserve a safe and vibrant community with access to their local parks and waterfronts which they can enjoy with their families,” Councilwoman Annabel Palma said.
“The southern Bronx River Watershed Alliance have been working together on this Bruckner and Sheridan redevelopment vision for 15 years and we feel the need for this project is really long overdue,” Elena Conte, Pratt Center for Community Development senior organizer stated.
On April 15, SBRWA wrote NYSDOT Commissioner Joan McDonald requesting $5 million in funding an EIS for the Oak Point ramps in the 45-Day List and to start identifying funds to pay for their construction.