New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, FTA Administrator Therese McMillan, and New York City Department of Design and Construction (DDC) Commissioner Dr. Feniosky Peña-Mora today announced the unveiling of the newly reconstructed Fordham Plaza in the Bronx.
“The tens of thousands of shoppers, students, residents and commuters now have a Fordham Plaza that is just as vibrant and welcoming as this community” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “We thank everyone whose hard work helped bring this space to life and will reinvigorate one of the busiest crossroads in The Bronx.”
“The Fordham Plaza area used to be called the worst intersection in the city, but with the help of $17 million in federal funding it is now a safer, easier to navigate public transportation hub with more public space that can be enjoyed by all,” said FTA Acting Administrator Therese McMillan. “We are proud to partner with New York City to improve public transit options in our nation’s top city for transit ridership.”
A major transit and commercial hub, Fordham Plaza sits at the intersection of 12 local and regional bus lines including Bx12 and Bx41 SBS lines, the fourth-busiest Metro North train station, Fordham University’s Rose Hill Campus and Roosevelt Educational Campus. In total, 6,800 elementary and high school students travel through the hub while Fordham Road is traveled by 80,000 pedestrians daily. The redesign will play an important role in Vision Zero’s goal to reduce traffic-related deaths and injuries: the changes include shortened pedestrian crosswalks, new direct crossings to deter jaywalking, and a 25 percent expansion in pedestrian space.
The $34 million project was partially funded by a $10 million TIGER Grant, a discretionary grant program administered by the U.S. Department of Transportation to fund innovate projects around the country, as well as $2 million from the State Department of Transportation. Additionally, the Fordham Road BID will receive funding as part of the OneNYC Plaza Equity Program, which provides technical assistance and maintenance for plazas citywide.
“There are few places in this city as alive with activity or buzzing with energy as Fordham Plaza – the crossroads of the Bronx,” said Senator Charles Schumer. “And now, with this generous federal TIGER grant investment, this vital hub of shopping, education, transportation and more will be safer and more pedestrian-friendly, with shorter crossings and a significant expansion of pedestrian space.”
“This is great news not only for the Bronx, but all who use this vital transportation center,” said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “Fordham Plaza is a hub of major pedestrian, commercial, and transportation activity and these improvements will help provide safer access to public transit while spurring local economic development. I will continue to fight to make sure New York gets the resources necessary to make critical infrastructure improvements like this one that improve safety and spur economic development.”
“The completion of this long-awaited project is a tremendous victory for The Bronx, and I congratulate the Department of Transportation for their efforts,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “The reconstruction of Fordham Plaza is a transformative reconfiguration of a major public space in the heart of The Bronx and the Fordham Road Shopping District. The new design brings together an improved venue for pedestrians and public transit services, including shoppers, students and commuters. This new plaza will result in better articulation of bus routes and vehicular activity as well as a more efficient, safer, and a more beautiful public venue for the community.”
“The completion of this project is vital to the future of the Bronx,” said Congressman José E. Serrano. “It makes one of our borough’s economic hubs safer, improves transit services, and ensures a vibrant public space for all. This is a great example of how federal funding can prioritize and facilitate economic development in the Bronx. I was proud to advocate for a $10 million federal TIGER grant, which this project eventually received, and I will continue working to bring federal dollars to important projects in our borough.”
The improvements at Fordham Plaza, a great transit and commercial hub, certainly complement the major enhancements that are underway at Metro-North’s Fordham station,” said Metro-North President Joseph Giulietti. “We look forward to our customers benefitting from the collaborative work.”
“The new Fordham Plaza will enhance the vibrancy and efficiency of the Bronx’s largest retail and shopping corridors, with improved transit and vehicular circulation, additional public space, comfortable seating, new kiosks and landscaping features, “said DDC Commissioner Dr. Feniosky Peña-Mora. “With the feedback of our sister agency, DOT, and our stakeholders, we designed and built a safe plaza that meets the needs of the local community to enhance this borough for years to come.”
“The revitalized Fordham Plaza is a great example of this administration’s commitment to investing in strong neighborhoods here in the Bronx and throughout the five boroughs,” said NYCEDC President Maria Torres-Springer. “This is a real win-win for this community – not only will it improve safety, it will help generate new economic activity and strengthen surrounding businesses that will continue to make Fordham Road a vibrant place to live, work and play.”
“A dynamic new amenity for the Bronx, the reconstructed Fordham Plaza brings exciting economic opportunities for local shoppers and business owners,” said Gregg Bishop, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services. “We look forward to continuing to support the Fordham Road Business Improvement District and local businesses to ensure that Fordham Plaza evolves as a vibrant commercial hub for the borough.”
The redesign allows for improved vehicular circulation on East 189th Street and Webster Avenue, which achieves goals set forth in the Mayor’s Vision Zero plan by relieving traffic congestion and improving safety at pedestrian crossings. In addition, a redesigned bus loop improves pick-up, drop-off and layover operations, with clearer directions that will get bus riders to buses more quickly and safely. Other improvements include planted areas to provide shade and buffer from bus and roadway traffic, plaza lighting, fixed and movable seating areas, enhanced waiting areas at nearby bus stops, an Automatic Public Toilet, new wayfinding signage, increased vendor space, a new market canopy, multiple kiosks and a new café. Additionally, the Metro North Fordham Station has a new canopy that allows more natural light to shine onto the stairs and tracks, as well as new ticket machines and signage.
The completion of the new Fordham Plaza is the result of a collaborative effort among the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT), the Department of Design and Construction (DDC), the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC), the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), local elected officials as well as local stakeholders and the surrounding community. DOT worked closely with residents and local business owners, conducting interviews, focus groups and public sessions to ensure the new plaza design met their needs and is pleased to partner with The Fordham Road Business Improvement District on the management, maintenance, and programming of this plaza.
The NYC Plaza Program has 69 plazas citywide in planning, design, construction, or complete. Of these, 53 are currently open to the public. In the Bronx, the Plaza Program has 7 plazas; one in the design phase, one under construction and 5 currently open to the public.
For more information about the NYC Plaza Program, and for program guidelines and applications, visit www.nyc.gov/plazas .