Public officials gathered with members of the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC), Bronx community members, and the project team to cut the ribbon on a $6 million urban renewal project at Hunts Point Landing in the Borough of Bronx, New York City.
Part of the EDC’s South Bronx Greenway Program, the project transformed an existing dead-end roadway (Farragut Street) next to the New Fulton Fish Market into what is now dubbed Hunts Point Landing. The Landing features a linear park which allows access to the shore of the East River/Long Island Sound, with overlook areas, a fishing pier (complete with a fish cleaning table), and a kayak launch. Extensive landscaping and green space have been introduced. Sitting areas have been created with the placement of stones which were removed from the nearby Willis Avenue bridge abutments as part of that bridge’s replacement. Rest room facilities in the form of a composting toilet have been provided for visitors to the park.
“For almost a century, the Bronx River has been little more than a hemmed-in waterway and an outlet for storm drainage, sewage, and industrial waste,” stated Urban Engineers (Urban) Resident Engineer Rugnab Bangura, PE. “The addition of Hunts Point Landing connects local residents back to their waterway and provides them with recreational opportunities missing for generations.”
The EDC is an agency charged with the implementation of efforts to promote economic activity, concentrated funding, and programs to improve selected corridors in the Hunts Point neighborhood in the southeast portion of the borough, where the Bronx River empties into the confluence of the East River and the Long Island Sound. EDC manages one of the major activity and employment centers in this area, the Hunts Point Produce Market, which supplies over 80% of the fresh produce and fish to the New York metropolitan area. A combination of geography (the East River and Long Island Sound on the east and south sides) and, ironically, transportation facilities (Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor and I-278 on the western edge) makes access to this community difficult, as only certain roadways link it to surrounding neighborhoods.
Urban was engaged by EDC to provide constructability and bid document reviews and construction management services for a four-part assignment of the Greenway Program. “The initial two projects of this undertaking concentrated on the replacement of the fence surrounding a portion of the Produce Market to provide over ¾ mile of new colorful concrete panel walls to replace an unsightly barbed-wire-topped metal fence, and streetscape improvements on Lafayette Avenue, a corridor connecting a residential neighborhood to the entrance to the Market,” said Urban’s Project Manager, Bob Wright, PE.
The fourth and last element of the program in which Urban will be involved, the revamping of Food Center Drive, will start construction in spring 2013. The Drive is currently a long loop roadway serving industrial properties and support facilities for the Produce Market and it provides the link to Hunts Point Landing from other parts of the community. The current six-lane cross section of the Drive will be transformed into a 3-lane, one-directional roadway for traffic, with the remaining three lanes converted into a shared pedestrian/bicycle trail and landscaped areas. Utility lines and storm sewers will be upgraded as part of this work.
“When this work is finished late next year, the combination of the four projects in which Urban has been involved and the numerous others implemented by the City will have accomplished a great deal toward the effort to revitalize the Bronx River corridor and Hunts Point,” said Wright.