The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) announced more than $500,000 in awards for the second round of funding in the Baker-Polito Administration’s Shared Streets & Spaces Program.
The program, which was launched on June 10, provides technical and funding assistance to help Massachusetts cities and towns conceive, design, and implement tactical changes to curbs, streets, on-street parking spaces and off-street parking lots in support of public health, safe mobility, and renewed commerce. The first round of funding went to 12 communities and 75 percent of the funding was provided to Environmental Justice communities. This second round of funding is going to four communities, totals $513,000, and directs 45 percent of the funding to Environmental Justice communities.
The quick-build grant program provides grants as small as $5,000 and as large as $300,000 for municipalities to quickly launch changes to sidewalks, curbs, streets, on-street parking spaces and off-street parking lots in support of public health, safe mobility and renewed commerce. These improvements can be intentionally temporary, in the style of tactical urbanism, or can be pilots of potentially permanent changes to streets and sidewalks.
The list of cities and towns receiving Shared Streets & Space Program funding in the second round are as follows:
- Norwood received $120,000 to establish four ‘parklets’ throughout the downtown and Washington Street commercial corridor in order to create a sense of place, including additional pedestrian walking space and room for safe outdoor dining and recreation.
- Lawrence received $115,000 to pilot eateries and parklets inside containers used in the shipping industry, which are scheduled to be installed in parking lanes, to be used year-round for dining, recreation, commerce, a farmer’s market, and public seating.
- Plymouth received $172,727.50 to temporarily convert a parking lane and travel lane to shared space, to install temporary curb ramps and planters to buffer pedestrian crossings, and to implement wider crosswalks and buffered bike lanes. Funding will help procure temporary barriers and rental of traffic signs to re-route motorists.
- Westford received $105,000 to improve and increase pedestrian access to the Abbot Elementary School, including ADA-compliant wheelchair ramps, new striping, and pedestrian-safety signage.
The Shared Streets & Spaces program will continue to make awards to municipalities who filed applications eligible for funding. The awards are made on a rolling basis for projects that can be implemented and used this summer and fall. MassDOT has allocated a total of $5 million for this 100-day program. Applications are being accepted through September 29 and projects must be mostly or completely implemented by October 9. Preference will be given to projects that can be operational within 15-30 days of award, projects in designated Environmental Justice areas, and projects that show potential to be made permanent.
Types of projects may include:
Shared Streets and Spaces: supporting increased rates of walking and/or biking by increasing safety and enabling social distancing.
Outdoor Dining and Commerce: calming roadways, modifying sidewalks and streets, and/or repurposing on- or off-street parking to better support curbside/sidewalk/street retail and dining.
Better Buses: supporting safer and more reliable bus transit, including expanded bus stops and lanes dedicated for bus travel, (extra scoring credit will be granted for dedicated bus lanes).
Safe Routes to School: creating safe routes to schools and other programs for children and youth, including safer walking and biking networks with lowered vehicle speeds.
The Baker-Polito Administration launched the Shared Streets & Spaces municipal grant program to support quick-build projects that can bring meaningful benefits to cities and towns. The program is modeled after the Administration’s Complete Streets Funding Program, created in February 2016, which, as of January 2020, has awarded a total $46 million to cities and towns for municipal projects improving infrastructure to improve safety for pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and public transportation customers. The Administration included $20 million for the Complete Streets Program as part of the Administration’s $18 billion transportation bond bill which was filed in July 2019.
Additional information about the Shared Streets & Spaces program can be found at: https://www.mass.gov/shared-streets-and-spaces-grant-program.