[Updated 11/24 - MTR has learned that NYSDOT has selected the "rehabilitation only" alternative, a victory for local residents and advocates. We'll have more on this shortly.]
Tri-State has just received the “Draft Design Report” for NYSDOT’s plan to expand a section of the Major Deegan Expressway in the Bronx, a plan that is opposed by many because it will cut off access to the waterfront, increase traffic, and divert money from more important state priorities. Local elected officials, community groups, and residents have opposed the project. MTR has uploaded the chapters of the Design Report here, since the document is not available online and was not provided at last week’s hearing on the project.
- I: Executive Summary
- II: Project Identification, Evolutions, Conditions and Needs, Objectives
- III: Alternatives
- IV: Social, Environmental, and Economic Considerations
- V: Evaluation and Comparison of Alternatives
- VI: Project Coordination
While presenters at the hearing said the project would cost $250 million, and NYSDOT’s proposed 2010-15 capital program allots $266 million for the project, the Design Report predicts that the total cost will balloon to $343 million when construction is complete. A “rehabilitation alternative” would shave $60 million off of the cost, but even this option would lengthen acceleration lanes, add an “auxiliary lane” between E. 138th and E. 149th Streets, and widen the elevated highway so that no traffic lanes are closed during construction. A true rehabilitation alternative could save further millions.
The report also includes plenty of the myopic statements that are typical when transportation planning fails to consider land use. For example, even though NYC’s Department of City Planning has said the Deegan expansion is “in direct conflict” with city plans for waterfront redevelopment, NYSDOT concludes that the project “would not result in any significant adverse impacts on regional and local economics.” The report also says that “all social groups would benefit from improved vehicular safety resulting from the reconstruction. No harm to any social group is anticipated.”
Tell NYSDOT Not To Expand the Deegan
[Updated 11/24 - NYSDOT has reportedly agreed to choose a rehabilitation-only option for the Deegan.]
On Tri-State’s website, you can now send e-mails to New York State DOT Acting Commissioner Stan Gee and the Deegan project team telling them you do not support this project. As a NYSDOT spokesperson told the Mott Haven Herald last week, “We won’t do it [the Deegan] if we hear from the community and elected officials. We’ll take the money elsewhere.” Tell NYSDOT that’s exactly what they should do.
Letters that are sent before 5pm on Monday will make it into the record as official comments. Afterward, letters will continue to be sent on to Commissioner Gee.
(Alternately, comments can be directed to Syed Rahman by fax at (718) 482-6391, or by mail at NYS Dept. of Transportation, Region 11, 47-40 21st Street, Long Island City, NY 11101.)