The South Bronx Greenway provides a framework and series of recommendations for concrete actions to create sustainable connections between the waterfront and the residential and business communities in the Hunts Point peninsula.
Released in November 2006, the South Bronx Greenway is one of the primary goals of a comprehensive planning process for the South Bronx that began with the Hunts Point Vision Plan, issued in March 2005.
The proposed Greenway will vastly improve access to the waterfront, provide much-needed recreational opportunities, improve transportation safety, and enhance the network of bike and pedestrian paths on the South Bronx peninsula while providing opportunities for compatible economic development.
The South Bronx Greenway has five guiding principles:
- Support Safe Connections: Includes the selection of greenstreets that are not designated truck routes and that have the capacity for traffic calming and pedestrian safety measures, and the creation of a continuous, safe bicycle and pedestrian pathway along the waterfront.
- Foster Community Economic Development: Includes the promotion of employment opportunities directly related to the Greenway and the provision of open space amenities near businesses to offer recreational opportunities and foster worker retention.
- Improve Environmental Quality: Includes the restoration and creation of new ecosystems within the upland and shoreline to reverse environmental degradation and improve upland, riparian, and aquatic habitats.
- Promote Urban Health: Includes the enhancement of routes with amenities and landscapes that contribute to the enjoyment of the outdoors and invite social interaction.
- Encourage Long-Term Stewardship: Includes the development of a landscape management strategy that ensures the maintenance of the Greenway and builds social capital through education and local participation in the future of the Greenway's implementation.
When completed, the Greenway will link existing and new parks through a network of waterfront and on-street routes. It will encompass 1.5 miles of waterfront greenway, 8.5 miles of inland green streets, and nearly 12 acres of new waterfront open space throughout Hunts Point and Port Morris. It will not only create new connections to and along the waterfront, but also serve as a model for how and why sustainable infrastructure can be successfully accomplished within a challenged community.
The projects in the Greenway are grouped into short, medium and long term phases. The short term projects include:
- Randall’s Island Connector: The Randall’s Island Connector will create at-grade access from the South Bronx to the over 400 acres of recreational amenities on Randall’s Island. The project will be a quarter mile pathway from 132nd St to Randall’s Island. The pathway will run underneath the historic arches of the elevated Amtrak trestle and will include new lighting, landscaping, an at-grade rail crossing, and a pedestrian walkway and bikeway over the Bronx Kill. The project launched in December 2013 and is expected to be completed in the summer of 2015.
- Hunts Point and Spofford Avenue Streetscapes: These streetscape improvements are a new critical backbone linkage in the South Bronx Greenway (SBG) system. The improvements include a new landscaped median on Hunts Point Avenue and median upgrades on Spofford Avenue, a new bicycle lane on Hunts Point Avenue, and additional landscaping and trees along both streets.
- Lafayette Avenue Streetscape: The Lafayette streetscape connects the residential core of Hunts Point to Hunts Point Riverside Park, a recently opened park on the Bronx River, as well as serve as "negative truck signage, " discouraging trucks from traveling residential streets in order to access the industrial areas. The project includes a new landscaped median, new water/sewer infrastructure, a Class II bicycle lane, street trees and street furniture.
- Hunts Point Landing: Hunts Point Landing is a new public open space located at the southern end of the Hunts Point peninsula, adjacent to the former Marine Transfer Station site. Hunts Point Landing, already an informal fishing location, includes a new fishing pier, ecological restoration through tidal pools, a kayak launch, and passive recreational areas.
- Food Center Drive: This Phase I project will improve the vehicular flow through the Food Distribution Center and create a safe access route to the new Greenway amenities for residents and local workers. The road will be re-oriented from two way traffic to one way, and will include a Class I, separated bicycle lane and over 100 new street trees and landscaping through the entire length of the road. Construction is underway on this project and is expected to be completed by the end of 2015.
Construction is substantially complete on three of the five Phase One projects. The new Produce Market Fence, Lafayette Avenue and Hunts Point Avenue Street improvements were all completed in Fall 2011. Hunts Point Landing, a new waterfront amenity, opened in late Summer 2012. The Randall's Island Connector and Food Center Drive are both currently in construction. The Randall's Island Connector is anticipated to be completed in mid 2015, and Food Center Drive is anticipated to be completed by the end of 2015.