Starlight Phase 2
Starlight Park Phase 2 is a project that will close a crucial 2/3-mile gap from Starlight Park to Westchester Ave in the South Bronx to ensure safe, continuous travel along the Greenway and provide park and river access to 406,411 of Bronx residents and employees. The creation of this link is vital to the overall success of the Greenway. Once opened, nearby neighborhoods will no longer remain cut off from the river or from the new parks and playgrounds along its banks, and greenway travelers will enjoy a safe, continuous north-south route through the Bronx.
NYS DOT designed and acquired the right-of-way for the full project, constructing Phase 1 of Starlight Park, which opened as a city park in January 2013. In 2014, New York City assumed management responsibilities and allocated $12 million to the project. The project also received $4.4M from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, funding the shoreline restoration, soil remediation, and wetland creation part of Phase 2. In 2015, over $9 million were allocated to the project by NYS Department of Transportation, NY State Senator Ruben Diaz, Sr. and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. That autumn, $10 million was also awarded by the US Department of Transportation. In 2016, the state repurposed an additional $5 million to the project. And, in 2017 the City Mayor and the Bronx Borough President allocated a total of $6 million towards the project.
These funds allowed for the design and construction of a 2/3 mile greenway segment as well as two bicycle/pedestrian bridges that will be completed by the summer of 2022, completing 1.8 miles of contiguous off-street trails from the southern end of Concrete Plant Park to the northern end of Starlight Park.
Alongside this project, The New York State Department of Transportation converted the Sheridan Expressway into a pedestrian-friendly boulevard, creating three new access points to Starlight Park for pedestrians, a new bike lane along Edgewater Road, and a new small park at the entrance to Starlight Park, that has a small plaza with seating a beautiful views of the Bronx River. As part of this work, NYSDOT also provided a $7 million award for the construction of the final pedestrian bridge to span the Bronx River in Starlight Park. The bridge is located directly in front of Bronx River House and will provide access between the amenities in Starlight Park’s western shore and the coming expansion of the park on the river’s eastern shore. Its construction was completed in January 2020.
Tireless efforts between the community, local partners, the Bronx River Alliance, the City, State, and Federal entities and elected officials have accomplished raising over $58 million to Starlight Park Phase 2.
Phase 2 of Starlight Park will include 11 acres of parkland, three bridges, and a seamless link to Concrete Plant Park, the waterfront park that opened in 2009. Phase 2 will also open up a half-mile jogging loop around Starlight Park. Phase 2 is separated into three different stages. They are as follows:
Stage 1: Wetland and shoreline restoration in the southern end of Starlight Park, converting an abandoned industrial area into a greenspace that will be a home to natural areas and serve as a greenway link connecting Concrete Plant Park, south of Westchester Avenue.
Stage 2: Develop park space on the eastern bank of the river and construct new entrances and bridges to Starlight Park on Bronx River Avenue, providing access to thousands of residents.
Stage 3: Construct the final bridge connecting the east and west banks of the Bronx River in Starlight Park, allowing for uninterrupted greenway access and a direct connection to the Bronx River House.
Sheridan Enhancement: The New York State Deparment of Transportation is constructing a $700 million project to convert a portion of the Sheridan Expressway that runs adjacent to Starlight Park into a boulevard. The project will include at grade crossings to the park and construction of a new small park near the existing southern entrance of Starlight Park. For more information and analysis about the project plans visit the Southern Bronx River Watershed Alliance’s website and the NYSDOT official project page.