by Joe Hirsch
A new plan calls for cutting the truck traffic to the Hunts Point Food Distribution Market while increasing its storage capacity.
The city and the market’s wholesalers are negotiating over ways to modernize the refrigeration units, replacing the trailers that have been used for years and over ways to ship goods by rail from New Jersey, instead of using trucks.
The city is also considering ways to improve the Fulton Fish Market’s bottom line. Along with a study to see whether construction of a commercial fishing pier next to the market would help, planners are looking into increasing frozen storage capacity, instead of trucking unsold fish to New Jersey, as it is now, and trucking it back to Hunts Point the next day.
The proposals are part of the Hunts Point Vision Plan, created by a task force of city officials, local business owners, non-profit leaders and residents who came together in 2003 to develop a vision of the peninsula’s future.
They called for measures to help make Hunts Point cleaner and more attractive while developing jobs, helping businesses in the Market upgrade their facilities and making the waterfront more accessible for the public.
“The goal this year is to agree with businesses on design and budget,” said Jennifer Sun of the city’s Economic Development Corporation.
Results of the studies for both the new fishing pier and increased storage are expected before spring. Construction could begin by 2014 if agreement is reached, Sun said. The city and the businesses in the markets would share the expense.
Other improvements called for in the Vision Plan are closer to being realized. Construction is expected to begin soon on a new service station on Halleck Street and Food Center Drive where trucks can tank up with less polluting, alternative fuels. Diesel would still be sold for trucks not retrofitted for the new fuels, but “there will be opportunities for drivers to learn about adapting the technology to their vehicles,” said Sun.
In addition, as work begins on the South Bronx Greenway this spring, Lafayette, Hunts Point and Spofford avenues, are slated to new medians, trees, benches and improved bike lanes.
Construction is also slated to begin to create a new park, with a fishing pier and kayak launch, Hunts Point Landing at the foot of Farragut Street.