BOSTON – The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is announcing that six municipalities are receiving funding totaling more than $288,000 in the third round of funding in the Baker-Polito Administration’s Shared Streets & Spaces Program. Five of the six municipalities are Environmental Justice communities.
With today’s announcement, the program to date has given out a total amount of more than $1.7 million to 22 municipalities, of which 73% are Environmental Justice communities.
The City of Framingham did not apply for the grant in any of the three rounds, according to MassDOT.
Shared Streets & Spaces, 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 quick-build 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 – including safe walking and bicycling to schools – 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 third round are as follows:
- Billerica received $7,000 to purchase four large tents for outdoor dining. The tents will be placed in parking lots and on sidewalks and will be loaned by the Town to local restaurants. The tents will help to separate the public space from dining space and will protect customers from inclement weather. Over the long term, the tents will be used by the Billerica Library, Council on Aging, and local schools.
- Orange received $9,700.77 to purchase three outdoor dining tables, two ADA-compliant tables, five planters and flowers, three sets of umbrellas and stands, and garbage and recycling bins. These will be installed within an existing parking lot, which is centrally located to three local restaurants. Over the long term, the furniture will be permanently used on a raised deck in an adjacent, municipally owned, vacant parcel (seasonally).
- Easthampton received $160,000 to construct a new sidewalk, ADA-compliant crosswalks, sidewalk bumpouts, flashing pedestrian-safety beacons, a temporary separated bike lane, and a permanent paved bicycle/pedestrian connection.
- Salem received $81,500 to expand the pedestrian, dining, and shopping space along Essex Street from Hawthorne Boulevard to New Liberty Street using a quick-build elevated wooden platform along the southern sidewalk. The space will be defined and protected from vehicular traffic with posts, rope, jersey barriers, and concrete planters. Parking will be prohibited along the block.
- Lee received $15,000 to repave a sidewalk and install ADA-compliant curb ramps in a school zone and proximate to an elderly housing complex.
- Medford received $15,000 to improve pedestrian access to the Columbus Elementary School with a quick-launch project, including pavement markings, cones, and flex posts, at three intersections. Space is being reallocated from travel lanes and parking lanes.
The Baker-Polito Administration’s Shared Streets & Spaces program will continue to make awards 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.
Photo courtesy of salem.org