Tyler Hinckley and Mike Ness
No longer necessary as an eight lane artery, the Grand Boulevard and Concourse provides the opportunity for new program to take root. By eliminating the express lanes of the boulevard and redirecting traffic to the underutilized local lanes, the reclaimed streetscape can become something useful – a Bronx Farm.
The Grand Boulevard and Concourse, designed as the primary access route to the parks of the Bronx, has long since been outpaced by the many expressways that criss cross the borough today. The express lanes no longer serve their intended purpose, instead creating a barrier to through traffic and a hazard to pedestrians. The scale of the roadway is certainly grand, at over 180 feet in width, but the majority of that space is underutilized street area. By reclaiming the superfluous asphalt, new types of program can be inserted.
Traffic will be limited to the access lanes at the sides and the center express lanes will be re-purposed as truly local farms. At key points, though, traffic lanes will come together on one side or the other to allow for larger reclaimed areas. These new larger zones will become engagement points between the Neighborhood and the Farm – an Education Center, an Orchard, and a Market.
Following a growing trend in many urban areas, numerous small community gardens have taken root in the Bronx, particularly in a number of schoolyards throughout the borough. The larger scale of the reclaimed space of the GB&C translates to greater production and benefit for the Bronx Farm. The GB&C will not only provide fresh, local food for the residents along its length, but will also provide jobs, education, and community values.