It’s finally happening. The de-construction of the Sheridan Expressway into a boulevard conversion began on Tuesday, October 2.
The soon-to-be-transformed roadway will become a handsome tree-lined boulevard that connects directly to the Bronx River waterfront and Starlight Park while subsequently providing a direct truck route into and out of the Hunts Point Market.
Demolition began on West Farms Road and will continue moving west to east in five phases, with substantial construction completion scheduled for late next year, NYS Department of Transportation said.
The roadway is expected to be closed for two short overnight periods.
The boulevard will have a number of pedestrian and cyclist friendly features, including new, at-grade signalized pedestrian and bicycle crossings at Jennings Street, East 172nd Street and East 173rd Street.
Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. took to praising Governor Cuomo’s investment saying, “this project is a win-win for New Yorkers, not only gaining a new pedestrian bridge and bike path, but ridding the neighborhood of its outdated, obsolete roadway.”
That new, two-way bikeway will go along Edgewater Road leading to Starlight Park and the Bronx River Greenway. The new pedestrian bridge will cover the Bronx River while also connecting to Starlight Park to the multi-use path across the river.
“By reconnecting neighborhoods and increasing access to outdoor spaces, this project will not only improve the quality of life for residents, it will provide increased economic opportunities throughout the entire region,” Senator Luis Sepulveda said.
The state shelled out $75 million for this project to address the 1963 Robert Moses-era boon dangle that botched up the heart of the south Bronx, blocking access to the waterfront, while destroying four communities.
Moses’ original intention for the Arthur V. Sheridan Expressway was for it to extend northward, crossing I-95 near West Farms and then again at the northern end of I-95, just below Westchester County, acting as a spur of the interstate.
Major community opposition halted construction of the expressway’s 4-mile expansion before it reached West Farms, falling way short of its goal, rendering it almost useless. The end result was an ‘expressway’ roughly a mile long between the Bruckner Expressway and East 177th Street.
The original proposal would have routed the Sheridan through the Bronx Zoo and the New York Botanical Garden.
“Converting the Sheridan Expressway into a boulevard is a great milestone for this long-awaited project in my community,” Councilman Rafael Salamanca, Jr. said.
Salamanca, a Hunts Point native, also looks forward to this project reducing truck emissions on local streets.
The councilman whose father worked at Hunts Point Market for 17 years, empathized with those who have been dealing with the air pollution.
“I suffer from asthma,” he said. “I have friends that suffer from asthma.”
The councilman said it was important for the community to strike a balance between quality of life for residents and the importance of the Hunts Point Food Market.
The reconfigured roadway’s name will also change. It will be known as NYS Route 895 and maintained by NYS DOT when the work is completed.