Sheridan Expressway Removal Faces Obstacles
As of May 2012, New York City has officially taken the Sheridan Expressway removal option off the table from its TIGER II funded study. The Sheridan-Hunts Point Land Use and Transportation Study, embraced by community stakeholders and residents, aimed to weigh the benefits of replacing the aging expressway with mixed-use development and parks or expressway reconstruction. Last week, South Bronx community advocates responded by urging the Department of City Planning to reconsider the community plan alternative (you can read the press release here). U.S. Representative José Serrano and City Council Member Maria Del Carmen Arroyo also voiced their opposition to the City's decision, calling the move premature. City Planning officials cited re-routed truck traffic as a primary factor in ruling out expressway removal (you can view the City's presentation here). A 2007 study conducted by Smart Mobility, Inc. suggests that such cursory traffic modeling does not show any conclusive traffic advantages to keeping the expressway (you can read the study here).
The Sheridan Expressway was once again listed in CNU's 2012 Freeways Without Futures report that lists the top twelve urban freeway removal candidates. This 1.25 mile urban freeway spur was designed by Robert Moses and built in 1963. Since 1997, community members have argued that reconstructing the expressway would continue to degrade both the livability and health of the neighborhood. While removing the expressway would undoubtedly alter truck traffic patterns, those impacts should not outweigh decades-long community concerns and residents' vision for the future. Community advocates faced a similar obstacle in 2010 when the state department of transportation ruled out expressway removal. This time, however, advocates have the critical mass to demand for transparency and better decision-making.
For more coverage on this issue, see Ben Fried's piece on Streetsblog. And click here for more on CNU's Freeways without Futures.
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