Work to start next week, turning highway into multi-use boulevard
The Federal Highway Administration announced on Wednesday that it will provide $75 million to New York State to help repurpose the Sheridan Expressway from a mile of underused highway into an attractive, well-lit, human-friendly boulevard that can be walked or biked across to get to the Bronx River.
The revitalized Sheridan will include new crossings for bikers and pedestrians at Jennings Street, E. 172nd and 173rd streets, and a two-way bikeway along Edgewater Road leading to Starlight Park and the Bronx River Greenway. A new pedestrian bridge over the Bronx River will connect Starlight Park to the multi-use path across the river.
Construction is set to begin the week of September 23, with work on West Farms Road adjacent to the Sheridan, and is currently slated to continue along the corridor from west to east in five phases.
In its much maligned current configuration, the Sheridan cuts South Bronx residents off from the Bronx River waterfront, as the highway spur was envisioned during the 1960s by urban planner Robert Moses. Despite designing the country’s most notoriously cutthroat highway system in the Bronx, Moses himself feared the idea of driving so intensely that he never drove.
The original Sheridan plan called for a highway that would link New York City and New England, but community opposition to Moses’ plans to run it through the Bronx Zoo doomed that idea, leaving the current, stripped down version.
“The new boulevard will serve as a gateway to open space and water access that didn’t exist before, creating new opportunities for residents and visitors alike to experience and enjoy the natural beauty of The Bronx,” said City Councilman Rafael Salamanca, Jr. in a statement.
Environmentalists have long called for the Sheridan to be demolished entirely, but Gov. Cuomo disappointed them when he announced two years ago that the expressway will be refashioned rather than removed.