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reclaiming the streets: NYC

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  • J.H. Crawford
    Hi all, Worth noting. Notice also that Robert Moses is now being cast in the role of chief villain. J.
    Message 1 of 2 , Jul 13, 2010
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      Hi all,
      Worth noting. Notice also that Robert Moses is now
      being cast in the role of chief villain.
      J.


      http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/13/nyregion/13sheridan.html?_r=1&hp

      Plan to Remove Bronx Expressway Gains Traction

      Robert Stolarik for The New York Times

      Opponents of the Bronx road say it unnecessarily harms neighborhood life.

      For more than a decade, a plan pushed by some South Bronx residents and transportation advocates has sat on the fringes of the State Transportation Department�s to-do list, in part because it would be a radical undoing: tearing down the Sheridan Expressway.

      Although the plan has no real precedent in New York, advocates recite the benefits. They say it would ease traffic, improve neighborhood life and right a decades-old wrong committed by the master planner Robert Moses of building an unnecessary highway.

      As other proposals for the Sheridan have been tossed aside, the idea to tear it down has improbably progressed to the center of the state�s rethinking of the highway, which runs only a mile and a quarter long between the Cross Bronx and Bruckner Expressways.

      In the process, the Sheridan, a reliable thoroughfare for truckers and an eyesore for Hunts Point residents, has become something else: a battleground in a national fight to take urban spaces back from the automobile.

      �We�re rolling back the freeway system,� said John Norquist, president and chief executive of the Congress for a New Urbanism, a group based in Chicago that promotes walkable cities. He pointed to Portland, Ore.; San Francisco; and Milwaukee, where he was mayor, as cities that have removed highways running through urban areas.

      Mr. Norquist said the Sheridan was �a big important example because it�s in New York and it�s very visible; it would inspire other people that are trying to do the same thing.�

      State transportation officials have been studying the Sheridan for years. They have narrowed the field of proposals to three, including a plan to �demap� the roadway, which would probably lead to its removal.

      On Tuesday, officials will release long-awaited results of a study of the traffic implications for keeping and removing the Sheridan. While no final decision is expected, the report could presage the road�s fate.

      �We realize that we can�t just look at the highway facility itself; we need to look at the impact of a highway through the community it runs through,� said Phillip Eng, the city�s regional director of the State Transportation Department. �It needs to focus on not just moving traffic.�

      The Sheridan carries roughly 50,000 vehicles a day, according to state officials. It provides a route for truckers to reach the major food distribution center in Hunts Point but also acts as a physical barrier between local residents and the Bronx River.

      Removing the Sheridan would open up 13 acres of open space along the river, land that advocates want to connect with some 15 other acres of service roads and riverfront property to create 1,200 affordable housing units, commercial and industrial space, and amenities like playgrounds, swimming pools and soccer fields.

      �This proposal is really rooted in the environmental justice battles that low-income communities have been fighting for decades,� said Joan Byron of the Pratt Center for Community Development, a member of the campaign to remove the Sheridan. �If you look at globally competitive cities, they�re all looking at the spaces they gave over to highways decades ago, and they�re rethinking those decisions.�

      In contemplating Mr. Moses� legacy, the Sheridan stands as more an asterisk than a triumph. It was conceived as cutting across the northeastern Bronx, but local opposition foiled the plan because the road would have gone through part of the Bronx Zoo.

      Still, removing the Sheridan would be a bold decision; after all, it received a $27 million upgrade in 2004.

      �The Sheridan, physically, is really a new highway,� said Sonia Pichardo, a State Transportation Department official.

      The last major removal of a New York City highway was of elevated portions of the West Side Highway, most of which were removed in stages from 1976 to 1989. (In 1973, a truck fell through the highway at Gansevoort Street.)

      The Southern Bronx River Watershed Alliance, a coalition of Bronx and citywide environmental, housing and transportation groups, say the Sheridan, no matter its condition, is unnecessary. It links two highways, the group points out, that already intersect to the east.

      The plan to remove the highway proposes new ramps from the Bruckner that would improve access to the Hunts Point market. A plan to keep the Sheridan also calls for new ramps from the Bruckner to the market but seeks to preserve the Sheridan as an alternative to other traffic-clogged highways. A third plan essentially keeps the highway as it now stands. The state has been evaluating the traffic implications of all three plans since 2008.

      For the thousands of truckers who pass through Hunts Point every night, improving the highway is seen as far more essential than a desire for open space.

      �Eliminating the Sheridan would bring things backwards a bit and make it worse,� said Matthew D�Arrigo, a third-generation produce distributor and co-president of the Hunts Point Terminal Produce Cooperative Association. �The job is to try and fix the situation, not to make a park. This is about highway stuff and traffic.�

      Mr. D�Arrigo said that even if the new route added just a few minutes of time to truckers� trips to and from the market, �a few minutes of truckers� time on a bad day will stifle the entire community.�


      ----- ### -----
      J.H. Crawford . Carfree Cities
      mailbox@... . http://www.carfree.com
    • Simon Baddeley
      In Birmingham UK our villain was Sir Herbert John Baptista Manzoni CBE MICE (21 March 1899 ­ 18 November 1972) who helped design a city fit for the motor
      Message 2 of 2 , Jul 13, 2010
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        In Birmingham UK our 'villain' was Sir Herbert John Baptista Manzoni CBE
        MICE (21 March 1899 ­ 18 November 1972) who helped design a city 'fit for
        the motor car'. Nearly 40 years later I wrote on a flickr photo:

        http://www.flickr.com/photos/sibadd/2683195953/in/photostream/

        .... Birmingham has long been the UK's most autodependent city. The
        automobile is one of its icons, obscuring the fact that long ago Birmingham
        was once the largest manufacturer of bicycles in the country or indeed
        Europe. Yet at the same time it was Birmingham Council that only six years
        ago took the bold political decision to demolish a section of one of its
        encircling dual carriageways to regenerate the economy of its 'Eastside'
        development, and break out of 'the corset' that adaptation to the car in the
        1960s had tightened around the city centre, forcing anyone on foot to brave
        grim subways or climb pedestrian bridges to negotiate the city centre...

        Simon

        Handsworth
        Birmingham B20 3TG

        On 13/7/10 13:50, "J.H. Crawford" <mailbox@...> wrote:

        >
        > Hi all,
        > Worth noting. Notice also that Robert Moses is now
        > being cast in the role of chief villain.
        > J.
        >
        >
        > http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/13/nyregion/13sheridan.html?_r=1&hp
        >
        > Plan to Remove Bronx Expressway Gains Traction
        >
        > Robert Stolarik for The New York Times
        >
        > Opponents of the Bronx road say it unnecessarily harms neighborhood life.
        >
        > For more than a decade, a plan pushed by some South Bronx residents and
        > transportation advocates has sat on the fringes of the State Transportation
        > Department?s to-do list, in part because it would be a radical undoing:
        > tearing down the Sheridan Expressway.
        >
        > Although the plan has no real precedent in New York, advocates recite the
        > benefits. They say it would ease traffic, improve neighborhood life and right
        > a decades-old wrong committed by the master planner Robert Moses of building
        > an unnecessary highway.
        >
        > As other proposals for the Sheridan have been tossed aside, the idea to tear
        > it down has improbably progressed to the center of the state?s rethinking of
        > the highway, which runs only a mile and a quarter long between the Cross Bronx
        > and Bruckner Expressways.
        >
        > In the process, the Sheridan, a reliable thoroughfare for truckers and an
        > eyesore for Hunts Point residents, has become something else: a battleground
        > in a national fight to take urban spaces back from the automobile.
        >
        > ?We?re rolling back the freeway system,? said John Norquist, president and
        > chief executive of the Congress for a New Urbanism, a group based in Chicago
        > that promotes walkable cities. He pointed to Portland, Ore.; San Francisco;
        > and Milwaukee, where he was mayor, as cities that have removed highways
        > running through urban areas.
        >
        > Mr. Norquist said the Sheridan was ?a big important example because it?s in
        > New York and it?s very visible; it would inspire other people that are trying
        > to do the same thing.?
        >
        > State transportation officials have been studying the Sheridan for years. They
        > have narrowed the field of proposals to three, including a plan to ?demap? the
        > roadway, which would probably lead to its removal.
        >
        > On Tuesday, officials will release long-awaited results of a study of the
        > traffic implications for keeping and removing the Sheridan. While no final
        > decision is expected, the report could presage the road?s fate.
        >
        > ?We realize that we can?t just look at the highway facility itself; we need to
        > look at the impact of a highway through the community it runs through,? said
        > Phillip Eng, the city?s regional director of the State Transportation
        > Department. ?It needs to focus on not just moving traffic.?
        >
        > The Sheridan carries roughly 50,000 vehicles a day, according to state
        > officials. It provides a route for truckers to reach the major food
        > distribution center in Hunts Point but also acts as a physical barrier between
        > local residents and the Bronx River.
        >
        > Removing the Sheridan would open up 13 acres of open space along the river,
        > land that advocates want to connect with some 15 other acres of service roads
        > and riverfront property to create 1,200 affordable housing units, commercial
        > and industrial space, and amenities like playgrounds, swimming pools and
        > soccer fields.
        >
        > ?This proposal is really rooted in the environmental justice battles that
        > low-income communities have been fighting for decades,? said Joan Byron of the
        > Pratt Center for Community Development, a member of the campaign to remove the
        > Sheridan. ?If you look at globally competitive cities, they?re all looking at
        > the spaces they gave over to highways decades ago, and they?re rethinking
        > those decisions.?
        >
        > In contemplating Mr. Moses? legacy, the Sheridan stands as more an asterisk
        > than a triumph. It was conceived as cutting across the northeastern Bronx, but
        > local opposition foiled the plan because the road would have gone through part
        > of the Bronx Zoo.
        >
        > Still, removing the Sheridan would be a bold decision; after all, it received
        > a $27 million upgrade in 2004.
        >
        > ?The Sheridan, physically, is really a new highway,? said Sonia Pichardo, a
        > State Transportation Department official.
        >
        > The last major removal of a New York City highway was of elevated portions of
        > the West Side Highway, most of which were removed in stages from 1976 to 1989.
        > (In 1973, a truck fell through the highway at Gansevoort Street.)
        >
        > The Southern Bronx River Watershed Alliance, a coalition of Bronx and citywide
        > environmental, housing and transportation groups, say the Sheridan, no matter
        > its condition, is unnecessary. It links two highways, the group points out,
        > that already intersect to the east.
        >
        > The plan to remove the highway proposes new ramps from the Bruckner that would
        > improve access to the Hunts Point market. A plan to keep the Sheridan also
        > calls for new ramps from the Bruckner to the market but seeks to preserve the
        > Sheridan as an alternative to other traffic-clogged highways. A third plan
        > essentially keeps the highway as it now stands. The state has been evaluating
        > the traffic implications of all three plans since 2008.
        >
        > For the thousands of truckers who pass through Hunts Point every night,
        > improving the highway is seen as far more essential than a desire for open
        > space.
        >
        > ?Eliminating the Sheridan would bring things backwards a bit and make it
        > worse,? said Matthew D?Arrigo, a third-generation produce distributor and
        > co-president of the Hunts Point Terminal Produce Cooperative Association. ?The
        > job is to try and fix the situation, not to make a park. This is about highway
        > stuff and traffic.?
        >
        > Mr. D?Arrigo said that even if the new route added just a few minutes of time
        > to truckers? trips to and from the market, ?a few minutes of truckers? time on
        > a bad day will stifle the entire community.?
        >
        >
        > ----- ### -----
        > J.H. Crawford . Carfree Cities
        > mailbox@... . http://www.carfree.com
        >
        >
        >
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