Press Releases

For Immediate Release
August 22, 2023

Casey Berkovitz, Joe Marvilli – (212) 720-3471

Department of City Planning Announces Multiagency "Walkshops" Along the Cross Bronx Expressway

These public walking tours are the latest in the City's ongoing collaboration to tackle negative impacts of the highway while promoting residents' health and well-being. 

The events will take place in several Bronx neighborhoods throughout September and October.

NEW YORK – Department of City Planning (DCP) Director Dan Garodnick today announced a series of "walkshops" with the NYC Department of Transportation (DOT), the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), and the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) as part of the community-driven study to reimagine the Cross Bronx Expressway. These walking tours will offer opportunities for the public to look at existing conditions around and underneath the highway as we study ways to reconnect communities divided by it and improve public health.

"For too long, the Cross Bronx Expressway has been a destructive divider of communities. These walkshops will give New Yorkers an opportunity to witness and speak to the on-the-ground conditions and harmful impacts the Cross Bronx Expressway has on those who live and work nearby. I encourage everyone to join us for these tours and get involved in planning for a healthier, cleaner, and safer future for the Bronx," said DCP Director and City Planning Commission Chair Dan Garodnick.

"These walkshops are perfectly named opportunities for the communities along the Cross Bronx Expressway to directly observe the issues that contribute to our re-envisioning of the span," said NYC DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez. "I encourage everyone to sign up for these events to be held in September and October as the City moves forward with the community-driven study to improve these neighborhoods in an equitable way."

"Working directly with New Yorkers to support healthier neighborhoods is the key to making our entire city a healthier place," said Dr. Ashwin Vasan, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. "Walkshops are an opportunity to continue learning from the most credible experts we have – who are community members. The health Department has been proud to work with partner agencies and community members on this important process and look forward to seeing how these initiatives shape a new Cross-Bronx Expressway corridor."

"The Cross-Bronx Expressway walkshops, led by the Department of City Planning, give Cross-Bronx corridor residents a say in how the city rethinks infrastructure," said Victoria Cerullo, Acting Executive Director of the Mayor's Office of Climate & Environmental Justice. "This project results from the tireless commitment of environmental justice advocates who have long called attention to the expressway's health and safety impacts. These participatory walkshops will elevate solutions to improve both open space and public health, which are interconnected."

These walkshops all take place on Saturdays at 10 am in September and October, with each of them lasting around one-and-a-half hours and led by city agencies, community organizations, and elected officials. Covering multiple neighborhoods, the tours will examine conditions in the west, central, and east portions of the expressway. RSVPs are required for each of these events.

  • On Sept. 9, the walkshop will start at Bridge Playground and end where the expressway meets Jerome Avenue. Taking place in the west Bronx neighborhoods of Morris Heights, Highbridge, Mt. Eden, this tour will walk by playgrounds and bridges along the corridor.
  • On Sept. 23, the walkshop will start at Prospect Playground and end at Webster Avenue, providing an opportunity to walk over a covered portion and under an elevated portion of the expressway. This tour will cover the central Bronx neighborhoods of Crotona and Claremont.
  • On Oct. 7, the walkshop will start at Hugh J. Grant Circle and end at Devoe Avenue. Taking place in the east Bronx neighborhoods of Parkchester and Unionport, this tour will walk near the Bronx River intersection and Noble Playground.

The outreach series will conclude with three simultaneous events on Oct. 14. These include a bicycle tour starting at the intersection of University Avenue and Ogden Avenue by Bridge Playground, a Spanish-language tour starting at the intersection of E 174th Street and Webster Avenue, and an event for those with limited mobility at Prospect Playground.

"We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reimagine the future of the Cross Bronx Expressway," said Congressman Adriano Espaillat (NY-13). "As we work to reconnect communities that have been divided and create a healthier Bronx, these 'walkshops' are an amazing opportunity for Bronxites to share their vision for the future of the Cross Bronx while spending time in their neighborhoods and connecting with others. I encourage my constituents to join these innovative community events to share their experience and collaborate with city leaders on how we can create stronger, healthier, and more engaged communities."

"For decades, people in the Bronx have been suffering from elevated levels of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions because of the intentional decision to divide our community with the construction of the Cross Bronx Expressway," said U.S. Rep. Ritchie Torres (NY-15). "Now, as we work collectively to reimagine the future of the expressway and reconnect our community, the public has a unique opportunity to look at current conditions up close and in person. I encourage all New Yorkers to participate in an upcoming walkshop to see for themselves the determinantal ways in which the expressway uniquely affects our community and join us in being part of the solution as we work to address this public health and environmental injustice."

"With the visionary 'walkshops,' the Department of City Planning leads a harmonious urban journey, uniting diverse agencies to reimagine the Cross Bronx Expressway. As we walk the paths beneath the expansive structure of the Cross Bronx Expressway, we are fostering unity among fragmented communities, revitalizing a healing vision for the urban landscape and the well-being of its residents—many of whom are part of my district," said State Senator Robert Jackson.

"Imagine strolling through your neighborhood, discussing ideas that could transform the Cross Bronx Expressway into the community hub it deserves. That's exactly what is happening with these 'walkshops'. I proudly commend this joint effort by the Department of City Planning, NYC Department of Transportation, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and New York State Department of Transportation. We are not just exploring ways to improve the highway's impact - we are building connections, prioritizing well-being, and shaping a future that we can all be proud of, together. After decades of dealing with the consequences of the Cross Bronx Expressway carving through our neighborhoods, it's time we put the future of our communities back in our hands and reflect the needs of our residents," said State Senator Nathalia Fernandez.

"The Cross Bronx Expressway is one of the most congested interstates in the country, which not only divides the Bronx, but has also contributed to significant pollution and adverse health outcomes in our communities. As a part of the ongoing Reimagining the Cross Bronx Expressway initiative, the recently announced "walkshops" will give community members a unique opportunity to have a first-hand look at the current conditions of the highway and surrounding areas. The "walkshops" are the next step in efforts to address the safety and health concerns stemming from the expressway's impact. Many thanks to Department of City Planning Director Dan Garodnick, the NYC Department of Transportation, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and the NYS Department of Transportation for their work on this issue," said State Senator Jose Serrano.

"I applaud the New York City Department of City Planning and the coalition of city agencies for launching this next phase of the Reimagining the Cross Bronx Expressway Initiative: the community walking tour series," said Assembly Member Karines Reyes, R.N. "As this community-driven process gets underway, I am pleased to hear that my neighbors will have more time and venues to express the dire need for the capping or decking of the Cross Bronx Expressway, along with other critical reforms that can be made to improve our surrounding communities. I look forward to promoting and supporting the increased community engagement during the next round of workshops. This input will inform the development of concrete plans that can provide a brighter and healthier future for ALL Bronxites."

"In neighborhoods that continue to bear the brunt of excessive truck and car traffic as a result of Cross Bronx Expressway, we are grateful for the continued efforts of our City and State to correct the catastrophic impact it has had," said Bronx Borough President Vanessa L. Gibson. "Introducing "Walkshops" walking tours to the public as part of the larger community-driven study to reimagine the Cross Bronx Expressway, ensures those most affected, can now have a seat at the table in charting its future. I want to the thank Department of City Planning Director Dan Garodnick, New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez, and NYC Department of Health and Hygiene Commissioner Ashwin Vasan for their collective efforts in building a stronger, and healthier Bronx."

"The long-term environmental impact of the Cross Bronx Expressway has been detrimental to the health of not only Bronxites but all New Yorkers. As we dismantle the Robert Moses-era infrastructure, we must shift our focus onto our communities to better understand their immediate needs, and plan a future that best serves them and future generations. Communication and community engagement are imperative, and by working with the public to identify areas of concern, we are addressing those needs, working together hand-in-hand to uplift our community," said Council Member Marjorie Velázquez.

"I look forward to participating with my neighbors in the Department of City Planning's upcoming "Walkshops" to discuss all that encompasses residing and growing up near the Cross Bronx, and look at what efforts Capping the Cross Bronx means for our South Bronx communities," said Council Member Amanda Farías. "Thank you to the Department of City Planning and Commissioner Garodnick for your commitment and intentionality while developing our plan to finally bring environmental justice to our communities!"

"The Cross Bronx Expressway has had many deleterious effects in our communities, including asthma and other health complications for residents in the Bronx. I'm thankful we are pursuing community-driven ideas to reimagine the expressway. These walkshops are an opportunity for our communities to discuss the existing conditions of the Cross Bronx Expressway, its impact on Bronx residents, and ways to improve the health of the surrounding communities. It is widely known that residents who live near the highway are subjected to elevated levels of noise, air pollution and excessive heat caused by the vehicles that travel daily through the highway. We are confident that these walkshops will provide helpful insights to improve the health outcomes and opportunities for residents of the Bronx," said Council Member Oswald Feliz.

"For far too long, Bronxites have been enduring inequitable living conditions thanks to the Cross-Bronx Expressway. Splitting our communities in half and taking away precious green spaces, the blaring congestion noises and pollution caused by the tens of thousands of vehicles and freight trucks that pass through each and every day have left far too many in this Borough - myself and my son included - with life-long respiratory illnesses. I am thankful to the Department of City Planning for holding these upcoming walkshops for community members to play a major role in the reimagining of how the Cross-Bronx can better serve our Borough. This is an important first step at righting the wrongs of the past and bringing this community back together again," said Council Member Rafael Salamanca, Jr.

"The redevelopment of the Cross Bronx Expressway represents a generational opportunity to right the harms of the past and bring prosperity to the Bronx. By prioritizing the health, well-being, and environment of our residents, we can create a future that connects communities with affordable housing, parks, and essential infrastructure. These public walking tours, spanning across Bronx neighborhoods throughout September and October, epitomize our dedication to prioritizing the well-being of our residents and redressing the health disparities caused by the expressway. We must remain committed to ensuring that the voices of frontline communities are central to this transformative process. Together with our city, state, and federal partners, we will turn this vision into a reality," said the Office of Council Member Pierina Sanchez.

Funded by a $2 million U.S. Department of Transportation Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) grant submitted by DOT, DCP, DOHMH, and NYSDOT, this planning effort will identify strategies to lessen the negative health and safety impacts of expressway, explore opportunities for new open space, and reconnect communities north and south of the current highway.

Constructed largely in the 1950s and 1960s, the Cross Bronx destroyed the homes of tens of thousands of residents in the borough. With an average of 300 diesel trucks using the roadway every hour and tens of thousands of cars per day traveling in each direction, the 220,000 New Yorkers who live near the highway are regularly exposed to elevated levels of noise and air pollution as well as excessive heat. Communities in the Bronx experience elevated rates of respiratory disease, including asthma, and other chronic disease. The Cross Bronx also has some of the highest crash and fatality rates. Between 2014 and 2018, an average of 159 injuries occurred each year on streets adjacent to the expressway.

"New Settlement and the Harlem River Working Group are excited to be participating in the Re-envisioning of the Cross Bronx Expressway. While the creation of the Cross Bronx had a devastating impact on the Bronx as a whole and on the communities and families who were torn apart in its creation, this opportunity to envision a better and more equitable way for communities and their residents to reconnect with one another along the corridor of the Cross Bronx Expressway throughout the Bronx, including our communities in the West Bronx, where both the Cross Bronx and Deegan Expressway have isolated our communities from each other and from the Harlem River," said Chauncy Young, Director, Parent Action Committee, New Settlement.

"The Cap the Cross Bronx initiative exemplifies the synergy of community engagement, academic collaboration, and policy partnership in addressing vital environmental justice. The proposed September and October walking tours, as part of the effort to Reimagine the Cross Bronx Expressway, will foster opportunities for community feedback and firsthand observation of the challenges and impacts along the Expressway. These tours will guide the reimagining process, bridging long-standing divides and reconnecting communities. We invite the Fordham community and all New Yorkers to join walking alongside community, policy, and research experts to understand the impact of the Cross Bronx on the borough and its communities. This is a chance to forge ideas and relationships that will drive transformative changes enhancing air quality, public health, and community well-being," said Dr. Julie Gafney, Assistant Vice President of Strategic Mission Initiatives and Executive Director of The Center for Community Engaged Learning at Fordham University.

Department of City Planning
The Department of City Planning (DCP) plans for the strategic growth and development of the City through ground-up planning with communities, the development of land use policies and zoning regulations applicable citywide, and its contribution to the preparation of the City’s 10-year Capital Strategy. DCP promotes housing production and affordability, fosters economic development and coordinated investments in infrastructure and services, and supports resilient, sustainable communities across the five boroughs for a more equitable New York City.

In addition, DCP supports the City Planning Commission in its annual review of approximately 450 land use applications for a variety of discretionary approvals. The Department also assists both government agencies and the public by advising on strategic and capital planning and providing policy analysis, technical assistance and data relating to housing, transportation, community facilities, demography, zoning, urban design, waterfront areas and public open space.