Expressway to Boulevard on Bronx River

This past weekend, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced plans to replace the 1.3-mile Sheridan Expressway in the Bronx with a boulevard in an effort to reconnect the residents of the Crotona Park East and West Farms neighborhoods with parks along the Bronx River.

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The route of this short interstate spur is similar to that of nearly a dozen other highways within then city: it follows the course of a river.

Where it Runs

As infamous as city planner Robert Moses is for razing neighborhoods in favor of highway routes, most of his roads were built along the path of least resistance, following shorelines where there was typically less development in the way. Examples within the city include:

Sheridan Expressway was designed to follow the Bronx River between Bruckner Expressway and Bronx Zoo, running through the zoo’s grounds towards Boston Road, where it would have turned northwest on its way to New England. Neighborhood opposition effectively terminated the highway at East 177th Street, a couple of blocks south of the zoo. As it partially connects to the Cross-Bronx Expressway (I-95), it carries the auxiliary designation Interstate 895, one of the shortest such spurs in the country.

The highway opened in 1963, honoring Bronx Commissioner of Public Works Arthur V. Sheridan, who supported Moses’ highway plans for his borough.Ironically, he was killed in a car collision.

Battle for a Sheridan Boulevard

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Across the city there are movements to reconnect neighborhoods with shorelines and calls to transform the highways that are in the way. On Manhattan’s west side, an elevated highway was replaced with a boulevard; and on the east side there are calls for more overpasses across the FDR Drive. The battle to transform Sheridan into a boulevard fits into this narrative.

The calming of traffic is a welcome development, and I am sure that its intersections will not allow motorists to leave the boulevard, except at designated off-ramps, ensuring that traffic will not spill over onto the service road and surrounding streets. Should the Sheridan Boulevard plan become reality, Starlight Park will no longer feel like a secret and the Bronx River will no longer be a “hidden” waterway hemmed in by highways and train tracks.

In the News:

New York Post reports on two teens who nearly drowned after attempting to take a selfie atop the thin ice on The Pond in Central Park.

New York Times reports on the death of billionaire David Rockefeller, 101. His parks-related philanthropy included a $1 million donation to Fort Tryon Park, a State Park Preserve in Westchester County, and parkland abutting Acadia National Park in Maine.

 

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