This morning, the New York City Economic Development Commission’s Industrial Development Agency (NYCIDA) board of directors approved a motion that allows Fresh Direct to relocate from its current location in Queens to Harlem River Yards in the South Bronx. In June, a Bronx Supreme Court judge dismissed a lawsuit brought by South Bronx Unite against the City, but as an audience member at this morning’s meeting said, “Just because it’s legal doesn’t make it right.”
As MTR noted last month, the South Bronx suffers from a disproportionate amount of truck traffic evidenced by the area’s high asthma rate and high pedestrian crash and fatality rates in the Hunts Point section in particular. Little relief has come to the area, and elected officials supported the Fresh Direct relocation without finding solutions to the influx of more truck traffic. Fresh Direct is to be sited on one of the city’s best intermodal rail facilities, but there was hardly any push from electeds to increase the company’s rail use, which would help mitigate pollution and congestion in the area. The City’s recently-released recommendations in the Sheridan -Hunts Point Land Use and Transportation Study are a step in the right direction, but without City leaders pushing New York State to start the environmental impact study for the project, South Bronx residents will be stuck with more of the same.
Is there an opportunity in the wake of this short-sighted Fresh Direct plan? Let’s see what our elected officials do about it.