Plans to Turn One of New York City’s Dirty Highways into Green Space | New York

It’s a horrifying highway.It’s noisy, crowded and contributes to some of the countries Best Incidence of asthma.

But now, after years of organization from community groups and members of the state legislature, there is federal funding to develop plans. Part of the highway will be covered with green space and the neighborhood separated by the structure will be reconnected.

The 6-lane Cross Bronx Expressway is one of the busiest and most polluted highways in. New York city.Residents and activists have long described it as: A form of environmental racism Effectively divides Bronx into two. now Ministry of Transport Allocated $ 2 million for feasibility studies and highway capping plans. The estimated $ 1 billion project will be funded by the recently passed infrastructure package.

Map of the proposed Cross Bronx Expressway cap

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that has the potential to completely transform Bronx,” said Nircamertel, founder of the Bronx-loving community group.

With this funding, state and city authorities will devise a community-led plan to reduce traffic noise and cap structures including green spaces, pedestrian walkways, and air filtration systems on some of the 6.5-mile highways. can do. Researchers are targeting two miles of underground highways and aiming to convert them into tunnels.

“Cross Bronx has long been a structure of environmental racism,” said US representative Ritchie Torres. “There is no other chance to overturn the legacy of Robert Moses in South Bronx.”

Invented by Moses and built between 1948 and 1972, the highway causes noise and air pollution, putting about 250,000 people in South Bronx at greatest risk. asthma In the country.

“Everyone here knows someone with asthma,” said Jasmine Penha, when classmate Juan Gouron agreed and nodded.

A model of “capping” proposed by the Cross Bronx Expressway, a project of a local high school student. Photo: A student at Fanny Luhammer Freedom High School presented a prototype of the Cross Bronx Expressway Cap in a grade 11 project. / Provided by: Sarah Moore

Together with others at Fanny Luhammer Freedom High School, they put together a prototype of the Cross Bronx Cap as part of a grade 11 project. Grullon said that “the idea of ​​getting an agency in the community” resonated with peers and teachers.

Community organizers and local legislatures have been advocating capping initiatives for years, with state legislator Karines Reyes. letter To US Secretary of Transportation Pete Butigeg in April.At the recent White House briefingButigeg talked about the racist heritage of the Bronx Highway.

At Columbia University, another group of students is working on a prototype highway cap. “Bronx has been ridiculed many times,” said Stephanie McMorran, a third-year master’s degree in architecture whose mother grew up in South Bronx.The course is taught by Peter Münig, Someone who has been studying Cross Bronx Capping since 2017.

“I spent my whole life writing a dissertation, but it’s really powerful to see something happen,” Münig said.

Muennig and his team investigated the cost-effectiveness of setting a Cross Bronx cap. Estimate, It will save about $ 317 for each resident living near the freeway in future medical expenses and get about a month and a half of living in perfect health.

According to Muennig, one way the project will reduce pollution is to install an air purifier along the cap area. These systems are already in use in the city, such as the Hudson Tunnel, where pipes filter vehicle exhaust.

Another solution is to incorporate Materials – carbon fiber, titanium dioxide coating, etc. – – It can trap toxic chemicals like nitrous oxide. Concrete, fiberglass and other porous materials can help reduce traffic noise.

The actual design and materials used to build the cap depend on the results of the feasibility study.

“This project will reconnect people,” Muennig added. He remembered meeting a resident who lived opposite his aunt but rarely met her. “She’s right there, but there’s no way to get over it,” Münig said.

The same is true for Martell. She grew up four blocks away from her school friends. However, her parents did not let Martell visit her friend from the other side of the freeway.

Residents say that perception of distance creates a mental barrier, in fact the highway, not the distance, divides them.

“You can live in New York for the rest of your life, just accept the living environment about what it is, and don’t doubt it,” Martell said. “But in this case, the city followed a plan to strategically build a highway there to keep people out and keep the neighborhood disconnected. For me, it’s environmental racism.”

Plans to Turn One of New York City’s Dirty Highways into Green Space | New York

Source link Plans to Turn One of New York City’s Dirty Highways into Green Space | New York

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