Hunts Point advocates disagree about future of Sheridan
By Joseph Gallagher
The New York State Department of Transportation has unveiled two new proposals to divert trucks headed to and from the the Hunts Point market from local streets.
At a meeting of the Hunts Point Chamber of Industry and Commerce on Feb. 27, the DOT showed plans for an interchange from the Bruckner Expressway at Oak Point Avenue. One proposal calls for tearing down the Sheridan Expressway, while the other would keep the elevated highway standing.
The alternatives exposed a rift between the longstanding campaign to replace the Sheridan with housing and parks and advocates for business.
Josephine Infante, the founder and president of the Hunts Point Economic Development Corporation, was quick to rally members of the business community to support keeping the Sheridan.
“We’ve got to come together as a group and gather steam,” Infante urged. “The press is being used against this alternative and we need to campaign for it. Anyone with any sense in this borough understands that 2E (as DOT planners have named the alternative) is the one.”
However, community and environmental groups organized under the banner of the Southern Bronx River Watershed said the proposal proved that the 1.25-mile Sheridan wasn’t useful.
“They have strengthened our case–that the Sheridan isn’t necessary,” said Kyle Wiswall, of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign. “Both alternatives considered do not allow access to the markets from the Sheridan. By removing the Sheridan, 28 acres of open space would be created for mixed use. We could make a community there.”
According to Guy LoMonaca, project engineer at the state transportation department, a variety of additional proposals are still being considered. He said his agency is analyzing traffic to learn how it would flow in each of the scenarios the DOT is studying. The results are still weeks or months away, he said.