A Cross Bronx Expressway Park?
Imagine a Cross Bronx Expressway Park. A report by researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health states that decking over portions of the Cross Bronx Expressway would not only save money but also lives.
Creating a new park over the Cross Bronx Expressway over a 2.4 mile stretch across the borough would impact the lives of almost 230,000 Bronxites by adding almost 2 months to their life expectancy.
The park itself would stretch across 4 sections over neighborhoods like Throggs Neck, Parkchester, Castle Hill, Soundview, Tremont, West Farms, Morris Heights, and Highbridge.
According to the case study, “Deck parks can produce multiple health benefits. Most notably, they remove contact between pedestrians and automobiles. In doing so, they not only reduce accidents but they also encourage active, pollution-free transportation such as biking or jogging. Deck parks also place vehicles in a tunnel, thereby reducing noise and air pollution in surrounding neighborhoods. Finally, deck parks provide green space in which people can exercise and relax. In doing so, deck parks have the potential to reduce diabetes, heart disease, mental illness, cancer, low birth weight, and death associated with accidents.They can also have positive impacts on property values.”
Creating such a deck park over The Cross Bronx would cost $757 million according to the paper. This would restitch Bronx neighborhoods destroyed by Robert Moses but also provide a major public health benefit.
A Public Health Benefit
Senior author of the paper, Peter Meunnig, MD, MPH said, “The Cross-Bronx Expressway, which is heavily used by trucks, cuts through neighborhoods with some of the worst air pollution and highest rates of diabetes, obesity, and asthma in the city.” He added, “Turning sections of this highway into a park is a unique opportunity to reverse this damage.”
32 year old Bronx resident and member of Transportation Alternatives, Nelson Beltran, agrees with this study. He has been a strong and vocal advocate to decking highways in general.
“Decking the Cross-Bronx makes perfect sense, in light of The Bronx’s asthma problem (though I’d prefer getting rid of it entirely).” said Beltran.
He added that, “The Cross-Bronx alone is slated to cost NY about $1.7 billion over the next 10 years due to pollution, wasted time, and gas (according to INRIX); as such, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t pursue this project.”
There’s no denying that the expressway destroyed The Bronx by severing it along with neighborhoods in half.
Imagine a day in the future when you can walk across a park instead of a highway spewing deadly pollutants?