City Announces Study to Reimagine Cross-Bronx Expressway

The Cross-Bronx Expressway. Image Credit: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office.

On December 19, 2022, Mayor Eric Adams announced the launch of a community-driven study to improve the Cross-Bronx Expressway. The Cross-Bronx Expressway, which was constructed in the 1950s and 60s, cut through communities across the borough, disrupting neighborhoods and local economies, and bringing noise and air pollution. 

Approximately 40,000 residents were displaced in the creation of the Cross-Bronx Expressway. The expressway has had a largely negative impact on the environment and the wellbeing of the New Yorkers who live in the area, including elevated rates of asthma and other respiratory diseases, and other conditions including diabetes and hypertension. In addition, the expressway has high crash and fatality rates, with an average of 159 injuries on adjacent streets from 2014 to 2018. 

To begin to rectify these harmful impacts, the New York City Departments of Transportation, City Planning, Health and Mental Hygiene and New York State Department of Transportation submitted for a grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to fund a community-driven study to search for ways to improve health and well-being for residents along the expressway. 

The agencies were rewarded a $2 million “Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity” (RAISE) grant that will help identify strategies for repairing the damaged neighborhoods, improving health outcomes, reducing vehicle emissions, and creating public spaces with safer options for pedestrians and cyclists. 

The grant will enable the city and state to work with residents and community groups to establish community needs through meetings set to start in February 2023. The city and state will seek out community input. By 2024, the goal is to present a multi-year plan for near- and long-term proposals. 

U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer stated, “For too long, the people of the Bronx have borne the brunt of the consequences of the Cross-Bronx Expressway, which literally split neighborhoods in half and left a legacy of pollution and high asthma rates. That’s why I’m proud to announce a $2 million federal RAISE grant to fund the community-based study to determine the best solutions and redesign the Cross-Bronx sustainably and equitably, including decking, which would reduce pollution and add open space. I personally advocated with my partner Rep. Ritchie Torres to Secretary Buttigieg to deliver this federal grant, and in the Bipartisan Infrastructure and Jobs Law, we secured $1 billion in a ‘Reconnecting Communities Fund,’ as well as $3.2 billion for the ‘Neighborhood Access and Equity Grant Program’ in the Inflation Reduction Act, which can be used in the future construction phases of the project under the leadership of Mayor Adams.”

Mayor Adams stated, “The Cross-Bronx Expressway was a scar carved through the heart of the Bronx, turning bustling streets into ghost towns. But 50 years later, we see the resilience of this great borough, and we have an opportunity to make the Bronx whole again. This historic study will allow us to reimagine the entire Cross-Bronx corridor and the communities around it, and we will look at every possible way to reduce pollution and noise, improve safety and sustainability, and reconnect the communities of this borough. Thank you to our city, state, and federal partners for helping us secure this important grant, and we look forward to bringing everyone to the table together with the community to chart a new course for the Bronx.”

By: Veronica Rose (Veronica is the CityLaw fellow and a New York Law School graduate, Class of 2018.)




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