This Is Rush Hour on NYC’s Sheridan Expressway

Don't try this at home.

Clockwise from top left: TSTC's Kyle Wiswall, The Point's Adam Liebowitz, Julien Terrell of Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice, SBRWA's Melanie Bin Jung, Nos Quedamos's Anna Vincente, and Joan Byron of the Pratt Center for Community Development.

Members of the Southern Bronx River Watershed Alliance took to the Bronx’s Sheridan Expressway during yesterday’s afternoon rush hour and, well, you can see what “rush hour” looks like on the lightly used stub highway. The photo above was taken around 5:30 pm yesterday near 174th St. Alliance members are standing in the Sheridan’s northbound lanes (i.e. the peak direction!).

The gaps in the traffic weren’t quite long enough for a sit-down picnic, which is too bad because the South Bronx is sorely lacking parks and other places for families to recreate and relax. The needs of the area and the light traffic are just two of the many reasons why the Alliance is calling for a teardown of the 1.2-mile Sheridan, and why NYSDOT is studying it. A demapped Sheridan could be replaced not only with open space, but also affordable housing and mixed-use development.

The first photo was no fluke. SBRWA was able to take one group shot after another.

The first photo was no fluke. SBRWA was able to take one group shot after another.

Finally, this should go without saying, but please don’t try this yourself (stunts like this should be performed by trained professional advocates only!).

Clearly the Sheridan isn't exactly the BQE at rush hour.

The Sheridan isn't exactly the BQE at rush hour.

All images via SBRWA. The Alliance also includes Mothers on the Move, Sustainable South Bronx, and the NYC Environmental Justice Alliance.

Adam Liebowitz

12 Comments on "This Is Rush Hour on NYC’s Sheridan Expressway"

  1. Why don’t you show all the vehicles queued on the ramps at Westchester Avenue – which would otherwise block up the Bruckner?

    This type of stunt could be pulled on much of America’s interstate system. Do we really want EVERY part of our roadway network to look and function like the Cross-Bronx? 5:30 is a little early to be “rush hour” for this location – had you taken the photo just a little later traffic would have been queued up another 1/4 to 1/2 mile to the south. The Sheridan stores a lot of overflow for the expressways – in a location OTHER than neighborhood streets.

    The Sheridan does, in fact, serve some useful roles like that. It is also something that has the potential to be used more productively. But pretending that it is not serving any current role is dishonest and dangerous, and failing to see its value as a transportation asset is disappointing for a transportation advocacy group.

    Why don’t you recognize the potential to use it for redundancy in the system? If it were properly connected, traffic could be diverted between the Cross-Bronx and the Bruckner when there are incidents, so traffic wouldn’t idle over neighborhoods and buck up through pedestrian intersections so regularly.

    Why aren’t you looking at opportunities to use it with the Eastchester depot for better express bus and intra-borough BRT services?

    Have you looked at the surrounding land uses? They’re not a suitable setting for more parks and certainly not for residential areas. Do you think these bad-neighbor land uses are not necessary for our economy? Are there other locations that would have less impact on neighborhoods than where they are now along the Sheridan? The Bronx has the most parkland of any borough, why build even more parks the City won’t maintain?

    It’s really expensive to buy right-of-way for any transportation project – why not invest a little effort into using this type of asset effectively?

  2. Jay, I challenge you to send us a photo that shows even a modest amount of traffic on the Sheridan. The roadway should have never been built in the first place, which is why we want to remove it. There is plenty of redundancy in the system without the Sheridan.

    Regarding land uses, yes, the Southern Bronx River Watershed Alliance has looked extensively at this, and the community has created a plan for the highway’s footprint. See

    Former Milwaukee Mayor John Norquist will tell you that keeping an underused highway like the Sheridan is more expensive than removing it. Maintenance is not cheap.

    – Kate

  3. This is beautiful
    time to do a hihgway reclaim. Install camping tents on one lane or two … and presto you get a summer camp of kids ..
    Waht about the grass TA uses for parkign reclaim..

  4. Kate – I will have to see about getting a photo, but anybody who has spent any time observing the transportation functions of the Sheridan should be very familiar with the queueing that it regularly holds.

    I really don’t know what redudancy you could identify within the network. One stalled car on the Cross-Bronx can tie up traffic all the way back to New Jersey for hours. With a better ability to divert traffic, some of those recurring air quality incidents could actually be reduced, to the benefit of the Bronx residents who now suffer the impacts every time traffic idles to a halt.

    Whether the Sheridan should have been built or not, it is there now. So we need to look at it carefully and comprehensively to identify its best potential uses. More affordable housing would not only be vastly expensive given the difficulties with these sites, it would further strain transit capacity that is already at the breaking point on the Lexington lines.

    As far as the existing land uses, I simply find it irresponsible to advocate removing more auto related uses without a comprehensive plan for their relocation or some rationalization of these support uses. If you toss them out here, they will just end up in somebody’s neighborhood, and we have largely run out of places that are less objectionable than the area adjacent to the Sheridan. I could not, in good conscience, say we should move an auto repair shop away from the Sheridan knowing full well it will end up next to somebody’s apartment on Jerome, Webster, Park Avenue in the Bronx…

    I do not accept a false dichotomy that only allows us the choice between leaving the Sheridan the way it is or entirely removing it. The Sheridan could play an extraordinary role as an express bus bypass route. The Eastchester Depot could be transformed as a bus transfer center with TOD redevelopment around it. This would help increase our transit capacity so we can continue to develop affordable housing in the Bronx responsibly.

  5. The Sheridan has a relatively new roadbed, so how is is economically sensible to rip it up?

    If it is about air pollution and space, construct a concrete tunnel box over some of it that could support new housing and provide better local access to the waterfront.

    What TSTC proposes is wasteful and anti-transportation.

  6. Is it part of a Catholic/Freemason conspiracy, as you suggest on your blog?

    What about the Illuminati? Did you forget about them?

  7. Could you have done that on the southbound lanes?

    Fewer people may use the northbound side because if the deficient ramp onto the eastbound I-95 service road that one takes to go northbound via the Sheridan-BRP or I-95 combo. It has one lane continuing alongside another but with deficient width where they meet

  8. Just look at those pictures, including the very TSTC logo! Or for that matter the history of the DC freeways at At Trip Within The Beltway articles at the list to the top right.

    Are you trying to say that wealthier property owners don’t have a disproportionate influence?

  9. Kate – sorry this slipped my mind. I do have some photos, plus some video, of the Sheridan that shows precisely how it serves as a queuing reservoir during when the expressways are congested.

    I’d be glad to send them if you will you agree to post them.

  10. This is rush hour on the Sheridan.

  11. I see you continue to use this fraudulent photo…

    Again – anybody who wants to see what the Sheridan looks like when it is actually busy can simply go here:

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