The Tour de Bronx

Sunday morning was the Tour de Bronx. An estimated 5,000 riders took to the streets. The highlight of the ride was the trip along a car-free Sheridan Expressway.

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The South Bronx River Watershed Alliance, a coalition of community groups and citywide organizations believes that the 1.25 mile stretch of road along the Bronx River can and should be car-free every day of the year. According to Transportation Alternatives:

This little used highway consumes more than 28 acres of prime land in the course of its redundant path from the Bruckner Expressway to the Cross Bronx Expressway (the Bruckner and Cross-Bronx are directly connected to the east and joined by the Deegan Expressway to the west). If SBRWA has its way, the Sheridan will be replaced with higher and better land uses, such as housing, commercial development, parks and greenways.

Though removing a highway sounds like a big project, there are many precedents for such a change from across the country and around the globe. In San Francisco, the Embarcadero Freeway and the Central Freeway have been razed and redesigned as vibrant public spaces. Portland blocked the Mt. Hood Freeway and instead opted for building mass transit and creating a city more livable for its residents. Even Milwaukee demolished its Park East Freeway to provide 26 acres for new development downtown. These examples and the groundwork laid by the SBRWA set the stage and now key decision-makers in New York are taking notice.

SWRBA’s community plan to remove the roadway is in the State DOT’s environmental study, which will decide the roadway’s fate and is expected to come out in 2006 or 2007.

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The Open Planning Project’s founder and executive director Mark Gorton and two little Gorton’s were on the ride along with their brand new, Copenhagen-style, crib-on-wheels — perhaps the first one in all of New York City. Streetfilms’ Clarence Eckerson caught the ride on video, of course.

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"Unit 2664 calling for back-up. I’ve got 5,000 bike anarchists rolling up on the Sheridan…"

  • AD

    It would be great to demap the Sheridan. Among other things, think of the annual cost savings on road maintenance.

  • How stable is Mark’s bike with only one front wheel? All the Copenhagen Photos showed a nice two wheel solution in the front with the kids.

  • Matthew

    Rack and Pinion steering, baby!
    It looked pretty stable to me. He was going up hills and around downhill curves (leading up to the Harlem Meer on the CP loop) without a problem. All the while his kids were clacking their helmets together and rocking the thing.

    Made me want one. I think it was the first one imported to the States. It’s made by the same company that makes the conference bikes you see running aroung Times Square.

  • Clarence

    It holds up to 240 pounds he said, I’d love to get in that puppy and shoot some film footage.

  • Mark

    It is very stable. The center of gravity is very low. I found it more stable than a regular bike with a child seat on back. The wheel base is long, so it isn’t great for dodging in and out of traffic. But it rides nice and easy.

  • Great, I’m glad it holds up well. I really want one for taking my girlfriend’s dog on the Hudson River Greenway.

    How much do they cost, if you don’t mind me asking?

  • Lane Wyden

    if you have to ask…

    i think they run about $3k, which seems like a lot until you remember that the only other technology to carry as much as fast starts at about $10k. and these days regular gas costs more than organic bagels.

  • Without knowing where he got it, it looks like Mark’s bike is based on the Danish “Long Jan,” which has been manufactured in Copenhagen for decades. There were at least a couple of the older Danish models in NYC during the 1990s. George Bliss replicated the design and sold a number than entered commercial use – a bike messenger company had a fleet of four or five and I’ve seen the one used for local errands by the Savoy restaurant parked outside its Crosby/Prince St. location as recently as the last couple of years. Many long wheelbase recumbents use a similar if simpler steering set-up.

  • urbanite

    Seattle is also considering (read: stalling) plans to replace an elevated freeway with a waterfront park. The freeway is unstable, decades old, an eyesore and a poor use of public space. The greenway will add trees, bikes, and people to the Elliot Bay waterfront.

    http://www.seattle.gov/mayor/issues/viaduct/

  • I love these photos!

  • Good luck, guys!

    In addition to blocking the Mt. Hood Freeway, Portland also removed the Harbor Drive Expressway from the riverfront in 1972, the first freeway removal project in the US.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harbor_Drive
    http://www.pdx.edu/media/p/l/planpdx_HarborDrtoBroadway12_39.jpg

    -Matt P.

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