Hunts Point Market
To remove, or not to remove, that is the question! Community activist groups and Bronx, NY residents have long awaited the decision of the Sheridan Expressway's fate. Mayor Bloomberg and the city answered their questions this past summer: the removal option was off the table. This decision was largely due to the influence of the Hunts Point Market and how removal would affect daily freight.
The Sheridan Expressway is a 1.25-mile long piece of interstate that connects the Bruckner and Cross Bronx Expressways. Hunts Point is the destination for approximately 34,000 daily travelers that use the Sheridan Expressway and is the largest wholesale food market in the world. It is just south of the Bronx and employs nearly 25,000 people. It is also home to over 800 industrial businesses. Meat, fish and produce are the primary industries that operate at Hunts Point.
Community activist groups, such as the Southern Bronx River Watershed Alliance (SBRWA), believe that it is necessary to reroute transportation in order for residents to have better access to the Bronx River, green space and potential housing and commercial developments. The Sheridan Expressway currently blocks this access. According to the Smart Mobility report commissioned by the Alliance, the Sheridan teardown is likely to:
1. Increase adjacent property values. Direct supporting evidence is cited from elevated highway deconstruction in other cities. Further evidence is cited that confirms increased land and housing values adjacent to, or near, greenways, parks and open space in general.
2. Generate temporary (short-term) impacts from employment, wages and general expenditures for highway deconstruction.
3. Create positive long-term economic benefits from the potential development of reclaimed land in the Sheridan footprint. This provides a rare opportunity for increased residential and nonresidential investment, employment and wages.
The SBRWA plan also cites changes to the Sheridan-Bruckner interchange as a solution for freight transportation needs along the Sheridan. However, the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) advocates for the rehabilitation of the interchange. The NYSDOT Statewide Transportation Improvement Program report illustrates this plan and states goals such as “rehabilitation of the Bruckner/Sheridan interchange & Bruckner/Bronx River Parkway interchange to ensure motorist safety and extend the service life of the structure.”
SBRWA and Hunts Point do not agree on the issues at hand. Executives of Hunts Point Market suggest that the Sheridan is vital to the transportation of freight to and from the market and that a teardown would drastically affect their freight mobility. They even went so far as to threaten relocating the Market to New Jersey. Even amongst the disagreement, the SBRWA does not want Hunts Point to move. “As community advocates, the economic development of the Bronx is among [SBRWA’s] top concerns, and we want the Hunts Point Market businesses to stay and thrive in Hunts Point." Now that the teardown is off the table, so is their threat. Hunts Point Market recently renewed their contract to remain in the same location.
Now the city has to determine whether to keep or change the Sheridan. With an upcoming mayoral election on the horizon, this debate will only intensify between community, economic and governmental interests. One thing seems certain-trucks will continue hauling freight to and from Hunts Point Market using some version of the Sheridan Expressway.
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