How should NYC fix Cross Bronx Expressway pollution and ‘Asthma Alley’ issues?

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webnexttech | How should NYC fix Cross Bronx Expressway pollution and 'Asthma Alley' issues?
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When a government study group asked Cross Bronx Expressway neighbors about conditions in communities along the corridor, many named the same ills: dirty air, grime, automobile chop shops, isolating infrastructure, lack of green space, and poor pedestrian safety. “There’s a reason they call the communities in and around the South Bronx ‘Asthma Alley,’” said Meera Joshi, New York City’s deputy mayor for operations, in a statement. “[W]hile essential for cars, our highway infrastructure, especially the Cross Bronx Expressway, does real damage to quality of life and health outcomes for the communities that surround it.” What to do about those harms — identified in a new city and state report — is the subject of a new round of community workshops kicking off on Saturday in the Bronx. The discussions mark the next phase in a landmark study to “reimagine the Cross Bronx,” an inquiry started in December 2022 that is fueled by a $2 million federal grant. The workshops and resulting findings are important as policymakers have floated solutions including possibly capping the Cross Bronx Expressway in some places, which would effectively create a buffer between adjoining neighborhoods and the sprawling, traffic-clogged highway. The Cross Bronx includes part of Interstate 95 and extends east-to-west across the borough. It was built between 1948 and 1972 and has been widely linked to high asthma rates in Bronx communities. It has also been blamed for displacing and isolating communities of color, in addition to a whole host of harms described in the study group’s report. The study was based in part on engagements with more than 900 people who live or work near the Cross Bronx, or use it, according to the findings. “For too long, the Cross Bronx Expressway has divided and harmed the communities of the Bronx and all of New York City,” said Department of City Planning Director Dan Garodnick in a statement. He called the new round of workshops “an important step forward to begin to foster safer, healthier, stronger and more connected communities.” The workshops will cover “potential concepts” and proposals that respond to issues raised in the new report, according to the organizers. In the fall, the multiagency study team will refine its ideas and begin a new round of community outreach on the proposals. Up next In-person workshop: 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 8. PS 106 Parkchester, 1514 Olmstead Ave., Bronx, in the school cafeteria. Registration is encouraged but not required. Virtual workshop: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 13. Register to receive the meeting link. To request accessibility accommodations or translation services, contact the Bronx borough commissioner’s office at the city Department of Transportation at 212-748-6680 or email [email protected] at least three business days before the event.

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