The Green Mile
With Dan Maxfield, 2009

A proposal for the Intersections: Grand Concourse Beyond 100 ideas competition sponsored by the Design Trust for Public Space.

While the Grand Concourse was once the 'Park Avenue' of the Bronx, today it is now little more than an eight-lane, limited-access highway. Its sheer width divides neighbourhoods, and its space is usable only by cars. The Grand Concourse of tomorrow must be a catalyst for community development, encourage sustainable living, and provide new housing for future Bronx residents.

Reducing the Grand Concourse from eight lanes to four simplifies the traffic pattern, eliminates redundant traffic lanes, and frees up valuable urban space that can be reclaimed as a 'greenway' connecting the south Bronx to the Mosholu Parkway. This 'Green Mile' evokes the former rolling landscape of the Bronx and its original use as farmland. The Concourse's roughly north-south orientation is ideal for growing grain and produce, as it receives abundant sunlight throughout the day.

Through the creation of community gardens, the 'Green Mile' fosters active community participation, produces nutritious food, and creates income opportunities. Furthermore, it promotes sustainable living practices such as composting, water conservation, and alternate forms of transportation including bicycling.

Along its length it ties together the relatively disparate parks of the south Bronx in a network of green space stretching from 161st Street north to the Mosholu Parkway and Van Cortlandt Park.

In order to meet the borough's anticipated population growth, the 'greenway' is peeled up in places and housing is inserted underneath. The resulting berm serves to protect adjacent residential buildings from traffic noise while creating a pedestrian-scaled corridor.