Clean Transportation Projects and Access Improvements Advance in the Bronx to Reduce Congestion, Improve Public Health
Phase Two of $1.7 Billion Hunts Point Access Improvement Project and Shared-Use Path To Be Completed Ahead of Schedule and Under Budget
August 21, 2023
Governor Kathy Hochul today advanced clean transportation and access improvements in the Bronx including a major milestone in the State's transformative, $1.7 billion Hunts Point Access Improvement Project. Phase Two of the project, which rehabilitated key sections of the Bruckner Expressway and Bruckner Boulevard to create a more direct route to the Hunts Point Market, will be completed ahead of schedule and under budget. Governor Hochul also announced a $10 million commitment for clean transportation initiatives in the Bronx. The investments in zero-emission school buses, all-electric mobility options, and electric vehicle charging stations will improve air quality and reduce pollution in an underserved congested area of New York City, which includes disadvantaged communities , historically overburdened by environmental pollution. Today’s announcement supports the State's Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 85 percent by 2050 and the State’s transition to zero-emission vehicles and infrastructure with all new passenger cars, school buses, and trucks sold to be zero-emissions by 2035.
“Our transformative investments in the Bronx are changing the lives of New Yorkers for the better by reducing air pollution, excessive noise, truck traffic, and clogged roadways,” Governor Hochul said. "We’re creating easier and more direct access to Hunts Point while simultaneously investing in our clean transportation future. These combined efforts will enhance the safety and public health of the community and further the tremendous momentum for growth we are seeing in the South Bronx.”
The Bruckner Expressway and Bruckner Boulevard improvements will enhance safety, improve resiliency, and advance New York’s climate goals by easing congestion and reducing truck traffic on local streets. The second phase also added a new shared-use path along Bruckner Boulevard between 138th Street and Barretto Street, to increase recreational opportunities for cyclists and pedestrians. This announcement is part of an unprecedented state investment to enhance infrastructure in the South Bronx and supports the State's Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (Climate Act) goals.
Hunts Point Access Improvement Project
Overseen by the New York State Department of Transportation, the Hunts Point project will provide direct access to the Hunts Point Terminal Market from both the Bruckner Expressway and the new Sheridan Boulevard. The Hunts Point Terminal Market and other produce companies near the facility are a vital economic engine for the Bronx, generating more than $2 billion in annual economic activity. More than 78,000 vehicles travel to the Hunts Point Peninsula daily, including 13,000 trucks using local roads, which has contributed to poor air quality in the community.
Phase Two of the project began in the spring of 2021 and was originally scheduled to be complete in the fall of this year. This phase, which has cost less than the original $518 million contract award, rehabilitated 1.25 miles of the Bruckner Expressway between 141st Street and Barretto Street, widening the roadway and providing new entrance and exit ramps that connect westbound Bruckner Expressway to Leggett Avenue. The ramps provide a direct route between the highway network and the Hunts Point Peninsula, including the Hunts Point Food Distribution Center, reducing truck traffic on local streets.
Additionally, a 1.75-mile section of Bruckner Boulevard between Cypress Ave and Barretto Street was reconstructed, and 15 local intersections upgraded. Improvements include new or upgraded curbs, medians, sidewalks, crosswalks, and traffic signals. A new, 1.5-mile shared-use path provides a connection to the 138th Street bike path heading to Randall's Island, Manhattan, and Bronx River Greenway. Three New York City Park islands were also be improved, with trees planted and a new decorative steel fence added along Bruckner Boulevard.
Today’s announcement builds on Governor Hochul’s announcement last October that Phase One of the project was completed on time and under budget. Phase One provided new and improved access to Edgewater Road in the form of three new ramps: a two-way ramp to Edgewater Road from Sheridan Boulevard and a ramp from eastbound Bruckner Expressway to Edgewater Road. Edgewater Road was also resurfaced, and new traffic signals were installed at Seneca Avenue and Garrison Avenue.
Garrison Park was transformed with a new shared-use path, landscaping, viewing platforms overlooking the river and a formal entrance area with a signalized rail crossing and traffic signal, giving residents safer and more seamless access to the Bronx River. Additionally, a new shared-use path was constructed under the Bruckner Expressway to link the new Garrison Park with the existing Concrete Plant Park, with five security cameras installed along the new path to enhance safety for pedestrians and bicyclists while connecting to the Bronx River Greenway.
The Bronx River Avenue viaduct was also rehabilitated, and more than 15,000 square feet of community "Bronx River Open Space" was created under the viaduct. The project also replaced the eastern span of the Bryant Avenue pedestrian bridge over Amtrak/CSX rail lines. In addition, Phase One replaced four bridges that carry the Bruckner Expressway and Bruckner Boulevard over Amtrak/CSX rail lines.
The third and final phase, which is ongoing, will remove a notorious bottleneck by reconstructing the Bruckner Expressway/Sheridan Boulevard interchange and relocating the entrance ramp to northbound Sheridan Boulevard from the left side of the highway to the right side. The addition of a third lane in each direction of the Bruckner Expressway and the replacement of the Bryant Ave Pedestrian Bridge, both of which were started in earlier phases of the project, will also be completed. Additionally, the intersection of Hunts Point Avenue and Bruckner Boulevard will be reconstructed to improve pedestrian and bicyclist safety. New signing and pavement markings will also be installed to better direct auto, truck and pedestrian traffic within the Hunts Point Peninsula.
Additionally, a new 117-spot parking lot with 24 electric vehicle charging stations, including four rapid charge spots to better accommodate electric vehicles, will be constructed under the Bruckner Expressway and help enhance air quality in the South Bronx. The project is on schedule to be completed in the fall of 2025.
$10 Million Commitment for Clean Transportation
Programs to fulfill today’s $10 million announcement will be implemented under current and future funding opportunities available later this year through the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the New York Power Authority (NYPA), and the New York State Department of Public Service (DPS).
NYSERDA will allocate $3 million from Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) auction proceeds and the State's 10-year, $6 billion Clean Energy Fund to help implement all-electric mobility options that connect residents to transit by investing in innovative, community-identified solutions and demonstration projects. The programs will build on previous innovative transportation initiatives to build electrification and mobility options, such as the New York Clean Transportation Prizes funded through the Public Service Commission (PSC). The additional clean transportation funding opportunities for the Bronx and disadvantaged communities throughout New York State will be available through the Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act, which includes $500 million to help school districts transition to zero-emission buses.
NYPA will dedicate $2 million under its EVolveNY initiative , a high-speed, open-access charging network that has installed fast chargers in key locations along primary travel corridors and in urban areas to make it easier for more New Yorkers to drive EVs.
DPS anticipates $1 million in EV Make-Ready incentives could be leveraged to support a total of 1,400 kW of fast charging at two locations.
New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez said, "The Hunts Point Access Improvement Project exemplifies Governor Hochul’s determination to invest in infrastructure projects that not only reconnect communities but also help grow our economy and protect our environment. By providing a more direct route to Hunts Point Terminal Market, we are taking trucks off local roads, easing congestion, and reducing emission, which will be welcome news to all New Yorkers but especially residents of the South Bronx who have had to contend with poor air quality for far too long.”
NYSERDA President and CEO and Climate Action Council Co-Chair Doreen M. Harris said, “This commitment is another powerful example of how our climate goals are driving a better quality of life for New Yorkers. By harnessing the best clean transportation solutions available, we are bringing these models to scale—and delivering on our promise to generate significant benefits for underserved communities.”
New York Power Authority President and CEO Justin E. Driscoll said, “Increasing the availability of fast charging in the Bronx through NYPA’s Evolve NY program is one solution that will have far-reaching effects on the environment and help move New York State closer to achieving its bold clean energy goals.”
Public Service Commission Chair Rory M. Christian said, “With her steadfast support of the electric vehicle market, Governor Hochul continues to lead the way toward a cleaner environment. The PSC understands the importance of the electrification of the transportation sector in the attainment of New York State’s climate goals. Our commitment amplifies existing efforts and stimulates new investments regarding the development of electric vehicle charging infrastructure.”
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner and Climate Action Council Co-Chair Basil Seggos said, “Emissions from the high number of fossil fuel-burning cars, trucks, and buses in the Bronx continue to negatively impact community air quality. DEC applauds Governor Hochul for today’s announcement, which will advance environmental justice in this community by strengthening EV infrastructure, thus reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions and co-pollutants, and helping advance healthier air for the Bronx.”
Representative Ritchie Torres said, “It’s no secret that communities like mine have been overburdened for far too long by disproportionately high levels of air pollution, traffic congestion, and greenhouse gas emissions, leading to some of the highest asthma rates in the state and city among other negative health and quality of life impacts. Places like the Bronx that have suffered the worst are the places that should see some of the greatest, most unprecedented levels of investment to correct these historic wrongs. I’m grateful to Governor Kathy Hochul for her visionary climate leadership and for prioritizing matters of environmental justice that will put our borough on the path of a more sustainable, healthy future for all.”
State Senator Nathalia Fernandez said, “I commend Governor Hochul and DOT’s dedication to fostering progress for the Hunts Point Access Improvement Project and the promotion of clean transportation initiatives in the Bronx. The completion of Phase two ahead of schedule and under budget showcases New York’s commitment to efficient and sustainable infrastructure development. The large investment in clean transportation not only addresses environmental concerns but also highlights the significance of equitable access to cleaner air and transportation options.”
State Senator José Serrano said, “The clean transportation initiatives that were advanced today will help provide relief to a borough that has long been negatively impacted by high levels of environmental pollution, and the negative health disparities caused by it. The efforts to reduce pollution by prioritizing zero-emission transportation and improving accessibility to the Hunts Point Market will offer a great improvement to public health and the overall quality of life for all Bronxites. Many thanks to Governor Hochul and the New York State Department of Transportation for their efforts to bring these improvements to the Bronx.”
Bronx Borough President Vanessa L. Gibson said, “For too long, our residents and families have experienced poor health outcomes as a result of air pollution, environmental neglect, and other systemic factors that have negatively affected the health and wellness of our borough. I am grateful to have a partner in Albany in Governor Kathy Hochul who understands these disparities and is working tirelessly with us to ease car congestion, improve safety on our major throughways and eliminate greenhouse gas emissions that have disproportionately impacted communities of color. Climate change is an issue that requires leadership from all levels of government and today’s announcement is a step in the right direction in the fight for environmental justice and equity.”
New York City Councilmember Amanda Farías said, "With New York State’s firm climate goals in mind we need cross-government cooperation to meet those goals for our neighbor’s health and for the future of our State. As the Chair of the Council’s Committee on Economic Development, a native Bronxite and a strong advocate for environmental justice, I am especially excited to see the Governor’s commitment to enhancing our State’s climate and transit infrastructure goals. Prioritizing zero emission school buses, adding electric vehicle charging stations, and focusing on reducing congestion, will not only improve our air quality and transit infrastructure, but will also bolster our growing green economy ang local jobs. Thank you to Governor Hochul and my colleagues in the State and City for advancing real transit and climate enhancements to make this a reality and I look forward to our continued partnership."
Assemblymember Chantel Jackson said, “I am pleased to support Governor Hochul as she advanced clean transportation and access improvements in the Bronx. The South Bronx has some of the highest asthma rates in the city, and this initiative will help improve air quality and the health of my constituents.
Building upon the clean transportation funding commitments, the state also announced the adoption of final regulations requiring all new passenger cars, pickup trucks, and SUVs sold in New York State to be zero emissions by 2035. The Advanced Clean Cars II rulemaking supports New York's ambitious efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85 percent by 2050 from 1990 levels, as outlined in the Climate Act. The regulation requires an increasing percentage of new light-duty vehicle sales to be zero-emission vehicles (ZEV) each year, starting with 35 percent ZEV sales in model year 2026, leading to 100 percent ZEV sales by 2035. The rules also include revised pollutant standards for model year 2026 through model year 2034 passenger cars, light-duty trucks, and medium-duty vehicles with internal combustion engines. In addition, Advanced Clean Cars II provides manufacturers with flexibility to meet the emission requirements and help advance a successful transition to cleaner vehicles.
New York was one of the first states to adopt Advanced Clean Cars II in 2022. The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) implemented the rule through an emergency rulemaking while the regulations were available for public review and comment. DEC received more than 4,400 public comments and held a virtual public comment hearing in March. The final regulations for these requirements and the Heavy-Duty Low Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) Omnibus and Phase 2 Greenhouse Gas standards will appear in the New York State register on Wednesday, Aug. 23.
New York State's $1 billion investment in electrifying its transportation sector is vital to meet the State's sweeping climate and clean energy plan. Reducing carbon emissions and pollution from vehicles creates cleaner air and healthier communities, particularly in underserved areas. A range of initiatives grow access to electric vehicles and improve clean transit for all New Yorkers including EV Make Ready, EVolve NY, the Drive Clean Rebate, the New York Truck Voucher Incentive Program (NYTVIP), and federal funding under the NEVI Program.
New York State's Nation-Leading Climate Plan
New York State's nation-leading climate agenda calls for an orderly and just transition that creates family-sustaining jobs, continues to foster a green economy across all sectors and ensures that at least 35%, with a goal of 40%, of the benefits of clean energy investments are directed to disadvantaged communities. Guided by some of the nation’s most aggressive climate and clean energy initiatives, New York is on a path to achieving a zero-emission electricity sector by 2040, including 70% renewable energy generation by 2030, and economywide carbon neutrality by mid-century. A cornerstone of this transition is New York's unprecedented clean energy investments, including more than $35 billion in 120 large-scale renewable and transmission projects across the state, $6.8 billion to reduce building emissions, $3.3 billion to scale up solar, more than $1 billion for clean transportation initiatives, and over $2 billion in NY Green Bank commitments. These and other investments are supporting more than 165,000 jobs in New York’s clean energy sector in 2021 and over 3,000% growth in the distributed solar sector since 2011. To reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality, New York also adopted zero-emission vehicle regulations, including requiring all new passenger cars and light-duty trucks sold in the State be zero emission by 2035. Partnerships are continuing to advance New York’s climate action with nearly 400 registered and more than 100 certified Climate Smart Communities, nearly 500 Clean Energy Communities, and the State’s largest community air monitoring initiative in 10 disadvantaged communities across the state to help target air pollution and combat climate change.
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