One More Reason to Tear Down the Sheridan Expressway

sheridan.jpgThe Post reported last week that the Cross-Bronx Expressway -- perhaps the most infamous urban freeway on the planet -- has earned the title "America's worst highway." According to traffic analysis firm INRIX, several of the nation's top bottlenecks are located on the Cross-Bronx:

Westbound exits at the Sheridan Expressway rank third worst, White Plains Road, fourth, and Westchester Avenue, 11th among all the awful choke points in America.

Decommissioning the Sheridan happens to be one of two options being considered by New York State DOT to improve truck access to Hunts Point and its huge wholesale food markets (currently, trucks exit the Sheridan and make the last leg of their trips on local streets). Without the Sheridan, trucks would get to the markets via a new exit off the Bruckner Expressway. The other option also entails constructing the Bruckner exit, but would preserve the Sheridan as a truck route.

NYSDOT is in the traffic analysis phase of evaluating each alternative. If traffic flow is the name of the game, then chalk up another reason to tear down the Sheridan: It would ease congestion on the country's most clogged-up highway. Of course, there's also the 28 acres of land for riverfront public space, housing, and commercial development that a teardown would free up.

The Southern Bronx River Watershed Alliance is the leading advocate for the teardown option, called the "New Community on the Sheridan Plan." Getting NYSDOT to consider highway removal in its EIS has taken some serious advocacy, said SBRWA's Melanie Bin Jung, and there's more to come. NYSDOT is expected to release its final EIS for the project next year, and select the final option by 2012.