The New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) is proposing a series of improvements to bicycles, pedestrians, and public transportation on the Washington Bridge that connects Manhattan to the Bronx. This project includes a bidirectional bike path protected by barriers on the side of the bridge to Manhattan and a bus lane on the Bronx side of the bridge. These lanes will provide exclusive space for cyclists and public transport users. Additionally, the plan aims to improve pedestrian crossings at the intersection of Amsterdam Avenue and West 181st Street in Manhattan.
This project could divert diesel truck traffic from Manhattan to the Bronx. The New York City Department of Transportation is also simplifying the timing of traffic lights at the Utica Avenue intersection and creating a two-way block on New York's E Avenue to improve vehicle mobility. However, Kevin Garcia, NYC-EJA's transportation organizer, wants to ensure that this plan has “not only zero net negative emissions, but also overall positive net environmental impacts in the South Bronx”. The project includes expanding sidewalks, improving existing medians, installing new markings for pedestrian crossings, adding main pedestrian intervals (LPI), and building an island of refuge for pedestrians.
Governor Hochul and the New York State Department of Transportation are working together to bring these improvements to the Bronx. The project proposes adding protected refuge areas to existing pedestrian crossings, closing access lanes for pedestrians, reconfiguring left-turn lanes to reduce conflicts, and formalizing pedestrian paths to complete connections to sidewalks. The project also includes installing two new pedestrian crossings, adding a painted pedestrian space, building a medium length of concrete, and reconfiguring traffic lanes to improve operation. The MTA environmental assessment revealed that Bronx residents and environmental justice advocates were concerned about the effects on traffic, air quality, and noise in the Bronx as a result of congestion charges.
To address these concerns, the project proposes calming traffic, improving buses and pedestrians, and connecting by bicycle to the Bronx, Mosholu-Pelham and Hutchinson River greenways. The project also proposes an elevated pedestrian crossing on 54th Street as well as several new crossings with improved pedestrian shelter space. The MTA's director of external relations for McCarthy touted the report's findings that the region, city, and “large parts of the Bronx” will experience drops in traffic and pollution when congestion pricing begins to apply. The current truck traffic on highways in the South Bronx has been linked to notoriously high rates of asthma.
Traffic in those communities in the city and region would be reduced by a fraction of one percent, though not always as much as in richer, whiter neighborhoods. In conclusion, this project proposed by NYCDOT could have a positive impact on traffic and transportation in the Bronx by providing exclusive space for cyclists and public transport users as well as improving pedestrian crossings. It could also reduce diesel truck traffic from Manhattan to the Bronx while providing improved road safety through advanced technology measurement. This project could help reduce traffic and pollution in New York City while providing improved mobility for vehicles entering Manhattan from south 60th Street.