Nepperhan-Runyon Heights: Is Transportation Racist?
Soon after the completion of the Bronx River Parkway, the Saw Mill River Parkway began construction in 1926 right over the Saw Mill River. In an ironic similarity between the Saw Mill Parkway and the Bronx River Parkway, the first African American “suburb” in Yonkers, Nepperhan-Runyon Heights was established. Situated right by the eastern bed of the Saw Mill River, the strip of land owned by Charles Runyon, then Senator and industrialist, was used by the very Charles Runyon to regularly bring “bus loads” of African Americans from Harlem for picnics, “at which parcels of land are auctioned off to them.” Simultaneously a real estate firm in New York City buys parcels of land from Runyon and when he dies in 1903 the firm started selling the land to Italians and eventually African Americans as well. “For a brief period, whites and blacks purchased property, built homes, tended gardens, and lived within close proximity to each other. In 1925, 369 people resided in Nepperhan—195 blacks and 174 whites." However, by the end of the decade, whites believed the neighborhood was becoming “too black”, causing white flight and a racially segregated community.
Nepperhan Valley in the late 1800s and early 1900s. It is the scenery by which outdoor activities would take place. The stone-made bridge and the "blending" with nature of roads can also be observed. It is a trait manifested in the parkways.
North of Nepperhan-Runyon Heights lays Homefield, another Yonkers suburb neighborhood consisting of white upper-class homeowners, who, as examined from their “restrictive covenants prohibiting the sale of such properties to minority owners” wanted to limit the spread of African Americans and other minority groups from their neighborhood. Understanding the importance of transportation and its capacity to give and limit access the “Homefield Neighborhood Association purchases and maintains a 4-foot strip of land as a barrier between the streets of the two neighborhoods. All roads between the two communities have dead-ends at the barrier.” On top of housing provisions meant to maintain Yonkers’ segregated status, creating barriers between roads in the efforts to physically separate the “unwanted” is not much different from creating a Parkway destined to attract into the neighborhood a specific type of people, not only in class but consequently in race.
 Parkways such as the Bronx River Parkway attracted an inflow of city dwellers for barbecues and other summer activities by the river bed. Sitting by the Saw Mill River and later Saw Mill Parkway, Nepperhan-Runyon Heights’ development as a suburb for people of color was kick started by this very activity.  Kavanagh, Bill "Brick by Brick," Found on the "Brick by Brick" website segregation timeline., DVD.  McGovern Stephen J., "Neighborhoods, Race, and the State," Journal of Urban History, 29, no. 820 (2003): 820-832, http://juh.sagepub.com/content/29/6/820.citation (accessed April 26, 2012). Kavanagh, Bill.