Friday, May 6, 2016

Proposal: A Sheridan Expressway Deck - Westchester Avenue to 174th Street Vicinity:

Sheridan Expressway Deck - Westchester Avenue to 174th Street:

To construct a new boulevard on a deck atop the existing surface segment of the Sheridan Expressway, in the area between Westchester Avenue and 174th Street, taking advantage of the topography of the hill to the west, as an alternative to the plan to convert that existing freeway segment to a boulevard that would still be fed directly by freeways at both ends.

Existing planning fails to look to the long term of greater population densities and development in the South Bronx, and other factors that all point to increased use of the Sheridan Expressway over the future decades.

It fails to adequately consider massive new development in the Port Morris area, including that envisioned by the Re-Think NYC proposal to extend LaGuardia Airport into Port Morris, Hunts Point.  It likewise completely fails to consider the significant amount of new development achievable with a future project to demolish the Sheridan Expressway's southern elevated segment, and that which it connects directly, the hideously ugly elevated Bruckner Expressway, placing it with a line of new buildings flanked and atop a new underground replacement, with the parallel RR likewise decked over.

It likewise fails to adequately consider massive new development with the development envisioned for the Mott Haven area, along the parallel route to the Sheridan of the Deegan Expressway.  In particular, it ignores the ramifications of the recent decision to not widen the Deegan corridor for merge lanes instead providing such by re-striping the out lanes as merge lanes, thus reducing the number of through lanes from 3 to 2.  So narrowing the Deegan, while refusing to consider any long term design modifications for it, is only likelier to shift some of the truck traffic to the Sheridan.

It wastes the sunk costs of the existing Sheridan Expressway roadbed that was recently torn out and completely replaced with a high quality concrete roadbed to accommodate decades of future heavy truck traffic, as it would again rip out the roadbed in order to build a new boulevard upon a narrowed right of way, so narrowed to increase the real estate development square footage to the east.  Apparently, no costs comparisons were considered of the lost value of the to be demolished roadbed, versus the added cost of a deck over of the adjacent railroad along the west side of the Bronx River northward from Westchester Avenue to provide the extra development space.

It furthermore likewise squanders the additional opportunity to increase the square footage for new development by having the new buildings partially cantilevered over the space of the service roads.

It does all of this with the idea of accommodating new neighborhoods envisioned alongside in new large apartment-condominium buildings along a Sheridan boulevard that would remain directly fed by expressways at both ends, and thus have far higher levels of vehicular traffic, and such conflicts with pedestrians, than a boulevard upon a deck atop the existing Sheridan retained as a continuous expressway.  Retaining the existing expressway beneath this deck between Westchester Avenue and 174th Street would keep the bulk of vehicular traffic off of the new boulevard thus rendering it a far far more neighborhood-pedestrian friendly street- a point completely overlooked in all of the mania about 'freeway removal'.

It wastes the opportunity to reduce the costs of doing so, by planning this new development together with retaining the expressway beneath the deck, potentially reducing its costs by designing such buildings to serve as the outer walls and supports of the expressway deck, with the buildings so designed to have their '1st' floors facing the top of the deck, with the existing ground level as service entry points, such as for truck delivery.  Doing this now would certainly be far easier and less expensive than in the future either disrupting traffic to dig a cut and cover tunnel, or constructed a deck and having to modify the buildings to raise their street level entryways one floor up (while not retaining the utility of having the service road as an underground delivery points).

It perpetuates a wasteful trend of reducing express transportation corridors for the sake of development, as with the nearby truncation of the Dyre Avenue IRT line (former N.Y. Westchester & Boston RR) at Lebanon Street, severing it altogether from its southern continuation to Westchester Avenue and Hunts Point.

Demolishing the existing surface segment of the Sheridan to construct a narrower boulevard that remains directly fed by freeways at both ends is neither necessary or desirable for the laudable goals of creating new neighborhoods along the Bronx River that would be far far better served by retaining this expressway segment beneath a new deck featuring a new boulevard that would serves as a far more neighborhood-friendly surface street, while providing a significantly superior express highway network for the region that acknowledges the significant new infill urban development for the City.

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