A Bronx-based coalition is successfully leading the fight to transform the Sheridan Expressway and to create affordable housing and green open space where it used to be
For decades, the Sheridan Expressway – a 1.25 mile remnant of the Robert Moses era – has severely impeded the quality of life in Hunts Point and the surrounding communities in the South Bronx.
In 1999, the Southern Bronx River Watershed Alliance (SBRWA) was formed to work for the removal of the Sheridan Expressway and the transformation of the South Bronx into a model of sustainable land use, environmental justice, and economic viability. In addition to Pratt Center, SBRWA includes Mothers on the Move, The Point CDC, Tri-State Transportation Campaign, We Stay/Nos Quedamos, and Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice. In the two decades of community effort, there have been significant victories and startling setbacks. To track the history of the project, see this timeline.
A highlight came in 2013, when the City, heavily influenced by SBRWA’s work, unveiled a series of transportation land use recommendations that would implement a transformation of the Sheridan Expressway Corridor and surrounding neighborhoods. In 2016, after 17 years of organizing and advocacy, Governor Cuomo announced $97 million toward the transformation of the at-grade portion of the Sheridan into a boulevard, followed by a budget commitment of $700 million to address multiple issues related to the Sheridan-Bruckner interchange in 2017. Read the SBRWA’s statement on the announcement here.
Since the announcement, the project has been split in two, with the State separating the process for advancing the Boulevard from addressing the interchange, raising community concerns. More egregiously, the community-endorsed location for the direct access ramps, Oak Point/Leggett, is not being fully studied. Instead, a proposal for an expansion of the Sheridan to connect with ramps at Edgewater Road is being considered in summer 2018.
Pratt Center is committed to working alongside our partners as part of SBRWA to ensure that the priorities expressed in the thoughtfully developed and long-fought community vision will emerge as the tangible result of the budget announcement.
We believe the transformation of the roadway network and surrounding land uses provides great potential to save lives, improve public health, encourage climate resiliency, and support jobs and affordable housing, if the process can respect the voices of the most directly impacted and the principles of environmental justice.