A $8.8 million project brings decorative paving, new seating, furniture, bike racks and directional signage to Morrison Avenue Plaza

The project was delivered $600,000 under budget, includes 2,400 square feet of additional pedestrian space, new raised curbs, bike racks, planting areas, and lighting

The NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) Ydanis Rodriguez, NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) Commissioner Thomas Foley and NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Bureau of Water and Sewer Operations Deputy Commissioner Tasos Georgelis joined Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson, Congress Member Ritchie Torres, Council Member Amanda Farías, Assembly Member Kenneth Burgos, Community Board 9, Youth Ministries for Peace & Justice (YMPJ) and members of the community today to announce the completion of an $8.8 million project to expand and beautify Morrison Avenue Plaza, at the southeast corner of Morrison Avenue and Westchester Avenue in the Soundview neighborhood in the Bronx.

The plaza increases pedestrian space and amenities at a busy intersection under the Morrison Avenue-Soundview subway station as part of a citywide plan to transform underused streets into vibrant public spaces. The project, completed $600,000 under budget, was managed by DDC for DOT and DEP.

“Morrison Avenue Plaza shows the best of how New York City government can break down silos and ‘get stuff done’ – as this first-class project has improved the safety of Soundview residents at what is perhaps their most critical transportation hub,” said Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez. “In addition to increased pedestrian space, new lighting, crosswalks, bike racks, and a drinking fountain, the improvement that we at DOT especially love are the raised crosswalks, which maximize safety by increasing the visibility of pedestrians – and are part of Mayor Adams’ plan to improve 1,000 intersections this year. We thank and credit our sister agencies, DDC and DEP, and look forward to our continued work with federal, state, and city elected officials who all played a crucial role in making today’s ribbon-cutting possible.” 

“DEP is pleased to partner with DOT and DDC to create a beautiful public space for the residents of Soundview. The $4.2 million in funds provided by DEP have been used to upgrade the drinking water delivery system and storm sewers, as well as the installation of new catch basins to improve drainage and reduce any street flooding,” said Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Rohit T. Aggarwala.

“The expanded Morrison Avenue Plaza is now a pedestrian-friendly and beautiful space occupying an important location in the Bronx, particularly for commuters and users of public transportation,” said Department of Design and Construction (DDC) Commissioner Thomas Foley. “In addition to the larger space and new amenities, the streets have been repaired, new sewers and water mains have been installed and the adjacent bus stop has been expanded. We are very pleased to deliver this project $600,000 under budget and to continue work in DOT’s remarkable Plaza Program, transforming public spaces in every borough.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the dire need for outdoor spaces in our borough where our residents and families could safely recreate in their communities without having to leave their neighborhood,” said Bronx Borough President Vanessa L. Gibson. “With the completed Morrison Avenue Plaza located at the southeast corner of Morrison and Westchester Avenues in the heart of the Soundview section, more of our residents and families will now have access to open space with decorative concrete paving, granite seating, planting areas, additional lighting, bike racks and other high-quality amenities. I want to thank Mayor Adams, the New York City Department of Transportation, the New York City Department of Design and Construction and the New York City Department of Environmental Protection for their collective work in seeing this project completed and their commitment to transforming underused streets into vibrant public spaces.”

“Morrison Avenue Plaza brings much needed public green space to thousands of Bronx residents. Following the Covid-19 pandemic, revitalization of our communities is more essential than ever,” said Congress Member Ritchie Torres. “Investment in a project like this opens up opportunities for small businesses, cultural events and affordable produce. I am thankful for the partnerships with local officials, city agencies, and community activists here in the Bronx that made a project like this possible.”

“This is a day of joy and celebration for the Bronx. This investment of nearly $9 million is an effort that is directly returned for the use and enjoyment of the community. Park activities promote a healthy lifestyle, the integration of community spaces and a sense of belonging that will enhance the lives of our people,” said State Senator Luis R. Sepúlveda. “The expansion of Morrison Avenue Plaza will improve public transportation services in the area and create more space for bicyclists and pedestrians. Our communities deserve to remain for living, working and recreation. I am confident that families who make use of this resource will see the benefits immediately.”

“The newly transformed Morrison Avenue plaza will promote an increased sense of public safety for my district, especially our commuters, with new lighting, protective crosswalks, and easy access to our newly renovated ‘Parque de los Ninos’ playground. I am excited to see that our City is committed to transforming our high traffic areas into vibrant public spaces that will not only increase people’s daily quality of life, but make it safer too,” said Council Member Amanda Farías. “To see $8.8 million invested in the public space needs of Soundview is not only incredible, but representative of a shift that I hope to continue in my district. The Bronx has for too long had to deal with lack of support and investment from every level of government. This plaza represents a neighborhood that is built by and for Bronxites first. I would like to give a huge thank you to all of our agencies who made this project a reality, including the  Department of Transportation, the Department of Design and Construction, and the Department of Environmental Protection. This project is a perfect example of the great things we can accomplish if our government and communities work hand in hand.”

“Today is a great day for my district. With the expansion of Morrison Avenue Plaza, my constituents will now have a safe, pedestrian-friendly space to visit on a daily basis,” said Assembly Member Kenneth Burgos. “I commend all parties involved for making the completion of this project a reality, and I look forward to seeing the benefits it will have to our community.”

“The Morrison Avenue Plaza including Harrod Place will provide pedestrians with a safe space to interact that includes new seating, bike racks, directional signage and more. We look forward to encouraging our community to utilize this new space and all of its amenities,” said Bronx Community Board 9 Deputy District Manager Shirley SanAndres-Alonzo. “We are also deeply grateful to all of the city agencies and community partners involved in making this a reality for our residents.”

“Morrison Plaza is an exciting new space on Westchester Ave, a busy commercial corridor,” said Youth Ministries for Peace & Justice (YMPJ) Executive Director David Shuffler. “Thousands of community residents will be able to access services, affordable produce, and arts and culture, all in one space.”

Morrison Avenue Plaza was accepted into the NYC DOT Plaza Program in 2013 and implemented in interim materials in 2014. The plaza is managed by Youth Ministries for Peace & Justice (YMPJ), a youth center active in the communities of the Bronx River and Soundview areas in the South Bronx. As the plaza partner, YMPJ works cohesively with DOT to activate and program Morrison Plaza as a community asset for the neighborhood. The plaza is also part of the OneNYC Plaza Equity Program and receives subsidized sanitation and maintenance services in partnership with the Horticultural Society of New York and ACE New York.

The plaza, which sees thousands of pedestrians on their daily commutes was expanded by 2,400 square feet, bringing the overall area of the plaza to 8,500 square feet. The transformation also included new decorative concrete paving, granite seating, planting areas, additional lighting, bike racks, movable tables and chairs, a drinking water and bottle refill station, and other amenities to enhance walking and cycling along the bustling Westchester Ave corridor. The project connects the plaza to the recently renovated ‘Parque de los Ninos‘ playground on Harrod Place with a new, extended raised crosswalk that prioritizes pedestrians and shortens the crossing distance. These enhancements along with new street lighting and traffic signals provide safety benefits to the surrounding area.

Harrod Place was fully reconstructed from Westchester Avenue to Morrison Avenue. Additionally, below ground, 600 feet of old 8- and 12-inch water mains along with 260 feet of 12-inch storm sewers were replaced. Ten new catch basins were added to reduce street flooding.

The project was designed by SWA Balsley, the design was carried out by JLJ IV Enterprises INC, and engineering services were provided by M&J Engineering P.C.. Funding for the project was provided by the City, the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) administered by the Federal Highway Administration, and the Federal Transit Administration.

About the NYC Department of Design and Construction
The Department of Design and Construction is the City’s primary capital construction project manager. In supporting Mayor Adams’ long-term vision of growth, sustainability, resiliency, equity and healthy living, DDC provides communities with new or renovated public buildings such as firehouses, libraries, police precincts, and new or upgraded roads, sewers and water mains in all five boroughs. To manage this $15.5 billion portfolio, DDC partners with other City agencies, architects and consultants, whose experience bring efficient, innovative and environmentally conscious design and construction strategies to City projects. For more information, please visit nyc.gov/ddc.

About the NYC Department of Transportation
NYC DOT’s mission is to provide for the safe, efficient, and environmentally responsible movement of people and goods, and to maintain and enhance the transportation infrastructure crucial to the economic vitality and quality of life of New York City residents. More than 5,000 DOT employees oversee one of the most complex urban transportation networks in the world, managing 6,000 miles of streets and highways, 12,000 miles of sidewalk, and 794 bridges and tunnels, including the iconic East River bridges. Our staff also installs and maintains more than one million street signs, 12,000 signalized intersections, 315,000 street lights, and 200 million linear feet of street markings. DOT promotes the use of sustainable modes of transportation, designing bicycle facilities, bus lanes, and public plazas. DOT also operates the Staten Island Ferry, which serves over 22 million people annually.

About the NYC Department of Environmental Protection
DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing approximately 1 billion gallons of high-quality drinking water each day to more than 9 million residents, including 8.3 million in New York City. The water is delivered from a watershed that extends more than 125 miles from the city, comprising 19 reservoirs and three controlled lakes. Approximately 7,000 miles of water mains, tunnels and aqueducts bring water to homes and businesses throughout the five boroughs, and 7,500 miles of sewer lines and 96 pump stations take wastewater to 14 in-city treatment plants. DEP has a robust capital program, with a planned $20.1 billion in investments over the next 10 years that will create up to 3,000 construction-related jobs per year. For more information, visit nyc.gov/dep, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.

An aerial view shows the expanded Morrison Avenue Plaza