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TIGER II Funds Sheridan Replacement Study, Fordham Redesign

3:40 PM EDT on October 15, 2010

With an official vision for what could replace the Sheridan Expressway -- this rendering came from the community __ -- teardown advocates stand a much better chance.

The TIGER II leaks keep coming. Here in New York, Congressman José Serrano just announced two winners of the much-sought-after federal funds (hat tip to the Tri-State Transportation Campaign on the news). $1.5 million will fund a planning study of the Sheridan Expressway area, which could provide a big boost for efforts to replace that little-used highway with housing, jobs, and parks. Another $10 million will go toward the redesign of Fordham Plaza, one of the most important spaces for transit and pedestrians in the city.

The Sheridan study could advance highway teardown plans by taking the blinkers off the state DOT's analysis. In deciding whether to rehab the highway or decommission it, the agency is putting a finger on the scales by refusing to consider the positive benefits of whatever might replace the highway. It's only comparing a Sheridan that carries traffic to a Sheridan  that carries no traffic -- and who wants a blocked-off highway?

Thanks to the TIGER grant, there may soon be an officially sanctioned vision for the area's future, and the hope of replacing the neighborhood-sapping expressway is much brighter.

"We are eager to remake this area into a livable, walkable and green section of our community, and this is the first step towards achieving that goal," Serrano said in his press release.

The funding for the Fordham project is also an exciting development for livable streets. With the third-busiest Metro-North station in the system, eight bus lines, and more foot traffic than Penn Station, Fordham Plaza has the potential to be one of New York City's great public spaces. However, poor design means it's also home to the third-deadliest intersection in the city. The proposed redesign would not only improve safety at Fordham, it would create 15,750 square feet of new pedestrian space and speed buses along as well.

We're looking into whether any of New York's other TIGER II applications earned a nod from US DOT.

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