Reimagining Cross Bronx effort to host ‘walkshops’ in September, October

Close up of directional signs on the road with arrows to Albany, Cross Bronx Expressway, New Haven and Trenton.
On Sept. 9, 2023 the city will begin the first of several walking tours as part of a study to reimagine the Cross Bronx Expressway.
Photo courtesy Getty Images

The city will host walking tours in September and October as part of a study of the Cross Bronx Expressway that is meant to find ways to lessen the highway’s negative impacts on surrounding communities while keeping the artery intact.

As officials assess how sections of the borough broken up by the monstrosity can be reconnected and the detrimental health impacts of the roadway can be mitigated, these tours will allow members of the public to see existing conditions around and underneath the highway. The “walkshops,” which kickoff on Sept. 9, will all take place on Saturdays at 10 a.m. in September and October, each lasting about 1.5 hours. They will be led by city agencies, community organizations and elected officials.

The study is supported by a $2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation, which was announced in December. The initiative, which is a combined effort of the New York City health, planning and transportation departments and the New York State Department of Transportation, seeks to identify ways the expressway can be improved to lessen its burden on surrounding communities, such as through capping, which could involve building open space above the roadway.

Built in the 1950s and 1960s, the notorious Robert Moses project displaced tens of thousands of Bronxites. Now with an average of 300 diesel trucks on the roadway each hour and tens of thousands of cars traveling the expressway in each direction every day, the borough’s residents face high rates of respiratory disease, including asthma and other chronic diseases. The expressway also has some of the highest crash and fatality rates, with an average of 159 injuries each year on streets adjacent to it between 2014 and 2018, according to the city.

“For decades, people in the Bronx have been suffering from elevated levels of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions because of the intentional decision to divide our community with the construction of the Cross Bronx Expressway,” said U.S. Rep. Ritchie Torres. “Now, as we work collectively to reimagine the future of the expressway and reconnect our community, the public has a unique opportunity to look at current conditions up close and in person. I encourage all New Yorkers to participate in an upcoming walkshop to see for themselves the determinantal ways in which the expressway uniquely affects our community and join us in being part of the solution as we work to address this public health and environmental injustice.”

The city hosted public engagement sessions for the study in the spring and earlier this summer to hear how residents have been most impacted by the highway and what they would like to see created. Local community-based organizations have also been helping guide the study.

For this next step of the project, separate tours will look at conditions in the west, central and east portions of the expressway. The series will conclude with three simultaneous events on Oct. 14, including a bicycle tour, Spanish-language tour and event for people with limited mobility. RSVPs are required.

“Imagine strolling through your neighborhood, discussing ideas that could transform the Cross Bronx Expressway into the community hub it deserves,'” said state Sen. Nathalia Fernandez. “That’s exactly what is happening with these ‘walkshops’. … We are not just exploring ways to improve the highway’s impact – we are building connections, prioritizing well-being, and shaping a future that we can all be proud of, together. After decades of dealing with the consequences of the Cross Bronx Expressway carving through our neighborhoods, it’s time we put the future of our communities back in our hands and reflect the needs of our residents.”

Register for the walking tours here and learn more about the initiative at

Here are the details for the walkshops:

Saturday, Sept. 9 at 10 a.m. | Walkshop West: Morris Heights, Highbridge, Mt Eden

Starting at Bridge Playground and ending at Jerome Avenue, this tour will walk by playgrounds and bridges along the corridor.

Saturday, Sept. 23 at 10 a.m. | Walkshop Central: Crotona, Claremont

Starting at Prospect Playground and ending at Webster Avenue, this tour will walk over a covered portion and under an elevated portion of the expressway.

Saturday, Oct. 7 at 10 a.m. | Walkshop East: Parkchester, Unionport

Starting at Hugh Grant Circle and ending at Devoe Ave, this tour walk towards the Bronx River intersection, passing by Noble Playground.

Saturday, Oc. 14 at 10 a.m. | Cross Bronx Exploration Day

Three simultaneous tours will end at a community gathering at Prospect Playground between Prospect Ave and East 176th Street.

Bike Tour | From Bridge Playground, looping at Virginia Park and back to Prospect Playground

This guided tour focuses on exploring the deficiencies in cycling infrastructure along the expressway. Participants must provide their own bicycle and helmets are strongly encouraged.

Supported Event for Older Adults and People with Disabilities | Prospect Playground

Navigating the areas around the Cross Bronx is also particularly challenging for older adults and people with disabilities.

Caminata Guiada en Español | Desde Webster Avenue hasta Prospect Playground

Únase a la caminata guiada del expressway y comparta sus experiencias e ideas. Su aporte nos ayudará a entender los desafíos y oportunidades para Reimaginar el Cross Bronx.

Reach Aliya Schneider at or (718) 260-4597. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes