Renderings of some of the improvements to the Sheridan Expressway and Bronx River Waterfront. (Image via NYCDCP)
In its current state, the Sheridan Expressway is a short truck-ridden connection between two major expressways in the Bronx, the Bruckner and the Cross Bronx, as well as the Bronx River Parkway. It remains mostly unchanged from when it was first built in 1963 (we can thank Robert Moses). Not only has it become an eyesore for the Hunts Point community which falls directly under several lanes of highway overpass, but according to a recent NYC Department of City Planning report, its surrounding areas are “congested, confusing, and unwelcoming.” The beautiful Bronx River waterfront is rendered inaccessible and newly approved plans for the Sheridan Expressway involve extending cross streets over the at-grade portions of the highway to improve east-west connections for local businesses and residents.
The Sheridan Hunts Point Land Use and Transportation Study, released yesterday, details benefits to the community if the expressway improvements are made, which will improve air quality, pedestrian safety, and accessibility to the Hunts Point peninsula food centers. Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. called the project a “transformative vision,” showing full support of fostering “open access to waterfront parkland for thousands of West Farms residents, and new residential and commercial development opportunities.”
Some of the proposed improvements to the West Farms and Hunts Point sections of the Bronx as outlined in the Department of City Planning study. (Image via NYCDCP)
The DCP approved these plans citing that they begin to reverse the “negative health, economic and social effects of a dysfunctional transportation network.” The new vision for the Sheridan Expressway in West Farms involves extending Jennings, 172nd and 173rd Streets across the span of the highway, adding crosswalks and access points for traffic along that route, akin to wide boulevards in the Bronx like the Grand Concourse. In addition, new ramps to the roadway from the Hunts Point neighborhood will reroute trucks, making crossing the Hunts Point / Bruckner Blvd. intersection less dangerous. In what the DCP calls a “Modify-Combined Scenario,” the improvements will also reduce the “footprint and impact of the roadway on local neighborhoods.”
Trucks that service the Hunts Point Peninsula (in yellow) have to maneuver over a mile of local streets to reach the Sheridan on their way to the local expressways. (Image via NYCDCP)