Mr. Gee, Tear Down This Highway


Here’s a scenic shot of the Sheridan Expressway in the South Bronx during the evening "rush," courtesy of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign and the advocates behind the Southern Bronx River Watershed Alliance. Even in the peak direction, reports Tri-State’s Steven Higashide, the Moses-era relic is barely used at all:

The gaps in the traffic weren’t quite long enough for a sit-down
picnic, which is too bad because the South Bronx is sorely lacking
parks and other places for families to recreate and relax. The needs of
the area and the light traffic are just two of the many reasons why the
Alliance is calling for a teardown
of the 1.2-mile Sheridan, and why NYSDOT is studying it. A demapped
Sheridan could be replaced not only with open space, but also
affordable housing and mixed-use development.

The State DOT is scheduled to decide the fate of this huge piece of riverfront real estate by 2012. Acting Commissioner Stanley Gee was in the news this week for agreeing to expand 1.2 miles of the Staten Island Expressway, under pressure from borough politicians. It’s hard to see where any pressure to preserve the Sheridan would come from.

  • I’m totally for closing obsolete highways, especially the Robert Moses atrocities — but I wonder if area residents wouldn’t benefit more from turning this into an elevated park like the High Line?

  • ms nomer

    South Bronx is way ahead of you on that one:

  • Brian

    Another Highline?? What?? Look the Highline is great and all for Chelsea but we’re talking about the SOUTH BRONX. Chelsea is a relatively wealthy, albeit somewhat diverse neighborhood in Manhattan and the Highline railroad is historic. The Sheridan expressway is an eyesore no matter how you look at it. The South Bronx needs parks for kids to play in, and housing, and mixed use development to improve the community as a whole. They don’t need a place for wealthy people to go for a stroll in the summer!

  • It’s great to see people all across the country fighting to tear down, blighting, unneeded urban freeways.

  • OK Brian, you’ve convinced me!

  • vnm

    It wouldn’t really be elevated, anyway, since the Sheridan is mostly at-grade.

    At-grade High Line, parks for kids to play in, affordable housing. All of these things sound infinitely better than an underused and unfinished Robert Moses mistake.

  • It is right next to the Bronx River, and the riverfront could be restored if the freeway were removed. That would make a better park than keeping the freeway structure – and removing the freeway would also free up some land to develop as housing.

  • JSD

    Parks can be good places. Parks can be bad places. A park full of kids in the day time, from the hours of 3:30-5:30 can easily turn into an extremely seedy and undesirable place at other hours.

    A park should make sense in the context of what surrounds it. Not exist to simply exist.

    I am not acquainted enough with the area to make a judgment on what sort of park could possibly be there. But Moses dropped random parks in random areas just as haphazardly as he dropped his highways. Parks for their own sake are not always a good thing.

  • StreetsPariah

    I think the fact that Northbound drivers need to exit to the street when trying to go North on I-95 is a good enough reason to tear the entire thing down, if you ask me. What a pain. Add in parks to the mix, and who could be against this?

  • JSD

    “who could be against this?”

    Sadly: The NY Post. Albany Senators. City Councilmembers. Drivers that never use the Sheridan, but will exploit the tear down as some sort of far left elitist boondoggle. Any number of early morning news anchors. In essence, the same people that opposed the Times Square pedestrian project.

  • Adam

    I say keep like 50 feet of that and put a subway on it. Then destroy the rest and turn it into parks and stuff.

  • jmc

    The sheridan is very useful as a busway to get express buses from the eastern bronx into manhattan in a reasonable amount of time. any replacement of the sheridan could use a busway. unfortunately one of the problems with the frontage of the sheridan is that it’s mostly surrounded by warehouses, and it’s bordered by the cross bronx and the bruckner on both sides.

  • Jay

    The main point I would make was already said by jmc: the Sheridan has a lot of potential value as a transitway.

    I would also simply express my disappointment with Tri-State’s continual use of the misleading “rush hour” photograph. It does not remotely represent rush hour conditions on the Sheridan Expressway. Please visit this page for a view of actual congestion (yes, it does actually hapen):

    (Tri-State appears to have taken the photograph earlier than the actual peak time at this location, and they selected a location where the majority of the off-peak traffic uses a local, signal-controlled approach. They simply hopped on while the signal light was holding the traffic. You could do a similar stunt on Fifth Avenue in Midtown to make it look like there wasn’t any traffic, and it would be just as misleading there.)

    There are some good arguments in favor of removing the expressway, but there are a lot of serious obstacles and it is not at all clear the impacts to the community wouldn’t actually be worse with the expressway gone.

    This issue deserve more serious discussion, and less misleading propaganda photo ops.

  • The northbound connection needs improvement; in its existing form it discourages use of the northbound Sheridan, as much of that traffic is to the northbound Bronx River Parkway.


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