Mingshu Chi and Alex Thibadoux
The Grand Concourse is capable of improving the health and everyday lives of countless Bronx residents. The redesign of the street will drastically improve access to park space and healthy food, encourage alternative transportation, and restore a strong sense of community.
The Grand Concourse has been dominated by automobiles for the majority of its first 100 years of life. This car oriented design contributes to a poor pedestrian experience with limited vegetation and dangerous bicycling conditions. The current street design promotes poor air quality and a lack of exercise. These effects directly contribute to larger health afflictions common in the Bronx, asthma and obesity.
As the Grand Concourse runs through areas of high residential density in the Bronx, its redesign could benefit a considerable number of residents. If the Grand Concourse were to improve the health and everyday life of its citizens then it could rightfully claim the title of The Bronx’s Grandest Boulevard.
In reorganizing the current street configuration, excessive car space can benefit the pedestrian, bicyclist, public transit, and plant life. In addition, a sequence of public places can be created along the sidewalks. Here, new functions will improve social life in the community and promote a healthier lifestyle. New squares will organize transit options, while recreation can take place through exercise, gardening, or relaxation. Some aspects of these new spaces can be chosen by community members, allowing them to take ownership of the redevelopment process.
The new Grand Concourse will provide evenly distributed park space, encourage exercise, provide local food markets and small businesses, and contribute to a cleaner, healthier environment. A redesign of the road could be the greatest birthday gift of all.