What Should Replace the Sheridan? TIGER II Could Fund an Official Answer

sheridan_drawing.jpgA city-endorsed plan for the site of the Sheridan Expressway could help replace that highway with housing, jobs, and parks. NYC DOT just applied for federal funding for such a study. Image: Southern Bronx River Watershed Alliance

Thirteen projects in the New York City region are up for consideration to receive funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation, including an intriguing proposal from New York City DOT that could boost efforts to replace the Sheridan Expressway with housing and parks along the Bronx River.

The U.S. DOT has $600 million to spread around through its signature competitive grant program, known as TIGER II. In the original, $1.5 billion round of TIGER grants, finalized this Februrary, preliminary work on Moynihan Station was the only project in New York State to receive funding. The second round of winners could be announced as soon as September 15.

Perhaps the most exciting project among the 13 applications is NYC DOT’s request to fund a planning study called “Revitalizing the Sheridan Corridor, Hunts Point and the Bronx River.” A source who’s tracking the Sheridan project says that this study is likely to explore what could replace the lightly-trafficked highway if it is decommissioned.

Such a study could supply a key missing piece in the effort to tear down the Sheridan and build housing and parks in its place. At a July presentation by the state DOT, officials repeatedly explained that the question of what might replace the Sheridan wouldn’t factor in to their decision to repair the highway or tear it down. Their analysis would only compare a repaired, traffic-carrying Sheridan to a closed-off, decrepit, but still-standing Sheridan.

Fordham_Aerial.jpgThe Fordham Plaza redesign would improve pedestrian safety and provide dedicated space for buses. Image: NYCEDC/NYCDOT

The agency had to evaluate its options this way, said state DOT officials, in the absence of an official proposal for development that would follow the teardown. The plan seeking TIGER funds, which would be developed in partnership with the Department of City Planning, could provide just such a proposal.

The city DOT’s TIGER applications include a few other projects we’ve been tracking on Streetsblog. The redesign of Fordham Plaza, which would provide badly needed pedestrian safety improvements to the area, is up for a grant, as are plans to remake the intersection of Tillary and Adams Streets into a fitting entrance to Brooklyn. Another application would fund an intermodal facility on Rockaway Parkway, presumably at the Canarsie terminus of the L [PDF]. As reported in June, NYC DOT also requested funds to study the inclusion of a station at Tenth Avenue along the 7 line extension.

brooklyn_bridge_gateway.jpgThe proposed boulevard-style entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge. Image: NYCDOT

The full list of local applications includes a broad range of projects from New York City and its surrounding counties in New York State. (New Jersey projects are submitted separately and aren’t included in the list we received.) In most cases, descriptions aren’t available online yet, and we’re working to fill in details from each agency submitting the proposals.

The MTA’s submissions include plans to repair a Long Island Railroad bridge (and widen it so that it could eventually carry a proposed third track) and a new waste management facility for Grand Central Terminal. The NYC Parks Department wants to rebuild the boardwalk at Coney Island and the Rockaway beaches.

The state DOT submitted two applications. The first would help fund the extension of the Staten Island Expressway’s bus and carpool lane from Slosson Avenue to Victory Boulevard. This project would coincide with a planned conversion of the current carpool lane from requiring two people in each car to three. The second would fund a new high-tech weigh station system for trucks.

As more information becomes available, we’ll keep you posted. For now, here are the titles and sponsor agencies of all 13 projects competing for TIGER funds:

  • Atlantic Avenue Viaduct, Phase 2B – MTA
  • Boardwalk Reconstruction at Coney Island and Rockaway Beaches – NYC Parks
  • Brooklyn Bridge Gateway: Tillary/Adams Street Area Reconstruction – NYCDOT
  • Ellison Avenue Bridge Reconstruction – MTA
  • EPCAL Freight Village – EPCAL
  • Fordham Transit Plaza Reconstruction – NYCDOT
  • Freight Rail Modernization: Improving the Freight Rail Transfer Facility at the Hunts Point Terminal Produce Market in the South Bronx, NY — SBS
  • Freshkills Park Roads Phase 1 – NYC Parks
  • Grand Central Terminal Recycling and Waste Management Facility – MTA
  • Preliminary Engineering to Determine Feasibility of a Side Platform at the Tenth Ave Station on the Number 7 Line Extension – NYCDOT
  • Revitalizing the Sheridan Corridor, Hunts Point and the Bronx River: A Planning Study Proposal – NYCDOT
  • Rockaway Parkway Intermodal Facility Project – NYCDOT
  • Staten Island Expressway (I-278) Bus/HOV Lane extension from Slosson Avenue to Victory Boulevard – NYSDOT
  • The Wireless Information for Sustainable commercE and Surface Transportation (WISEST) Program – NYSDOT