The Bronx Hub is the civic and cultural center of the South Bronx, centered at the intersection of East 149th Street and Third Avenue. In the 1970s and 1980s, the communities of the South Bronx suffered more than any other area of New York City from white flight and the abandonment, crime, and arson that resulted. Yet since then these neighborhoods of the South Bronx have undergone a dramatic community-led transformation: between 2005 and 2015, the Bronx outpaced the city as a whole in both job and population growth.
Maintaining this momentum, however, is not guaranteed, and many residents are also questioning if they will benefit from the changes. The area’s excellent transit access and high concentration of low-income households has made it particularly vulnerable to gentrification, and therefore displacement of existing residents. In fact, Bronxites face the highest risk of housing displacement of any county in the New York region.
The fourth plan’s recommendations would enable the Bronx Hub to protect existing residents by strengthening tenant protections, preventing tenant harassment, and directing scarce housing subsidy dollars to the lowest-income families. The plan also outlines strategies for promoting community wealth through land trusts and other shared equity structures, and recommendations to enable local anchor institutions like Hostos Community College, Lincoln Hospital, Metropolitan College of New York, and Bronxworks to be more engaged with the surrounding communities, thereby building small business capacity and increasing economic opportunity for residents. The area’s cultural richness would be protected in part by targeted investments in a naturally occurring arts district anchored by the Bronx Museum and Pregones Theater.
The plan includes additional strategies to increase economic opportunity and job access for Hub residents. The plan identified the BX6, BX15, and BX19 bus routes for significant service improvements, as well as the introduction of streetcar service. The proposed Triboro line would start on Third Avenue at 149th street, and take passengers to Queens and Brooklyn. The Second Avenue Subway would be extended from its current terminus at 96th Street to the Grand Concourse line (at 149th and Grand Concourse), connecting with the 2 and 5 subway lines. Longer term, the plan’s proposed regional rail service (T-REX) would provide rapid transit to other commercial centers while expanding access to the underserved Third Avenue corridor.
Better management of the Hub’s bustling streets would prioritize pedestrians, buses, and goods movements, reducing pollution that contributes to asthma. The plan also proposes improving healthy food options and adding more trees, green roofs, and other green infrastructure to improve health and well-being. The construction of each of these projects would lead to better paying jobs for Bronx residents in the Hub, and link residents to more opportunities in more business centers.