BOSTON – The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) announced awards of more than $1.3 million for the fourth 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.
This new round will provide $1.3 million to projects in 17 municipalities, of which 64% are 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 – including safe walking and biking 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.
With the award of this new round of funding, the program will have given out a total of $3 million to fund 38 projects in municipalities across the Commonwealth, of which 71% are Environmental Justice communities.
The City of Framingham did not apply in the first three rounds of funding, but did apply in this fourth round, according to a MassDOT spokesperson.
“However, the application status is currently considered “ineligible” because, in part, the proposed project entailed roadway and sidewalk reconstruction – work that is ineligible under the Shared Streets & Spaces grant program,” said MassDOT spokesperson Kristen Pennucci.
“MassDOT has reached out to the town to suggest the City submit a revised proposal that would meet eligibility criteria,” she told SOURCE.
The program when announced in June, specifically announced that these would be considered ineligible:
- Projects to simply maintain or repair existing roadways, sidewalks, bus lanes, parking areas, or other transportation facilities.
- Projects that cannot be implemented and operational by Friday, October 9, 2020.
- Projects where the applicant is seeking an alternative funding source for a project already funded or programmed for funding within the next year.
- Funding to seed municipally-administered grant programs.
- Ongoing maintenance, operational, and enforcement costs associated with a project.
Below is a list of the recent projects approved.
The list of cities and towns receiving Shared Streets & Spaces Program funding in the fourth round are as follows:
- Adams received $22,500 to fund the installation of tables, chairs, umbrellas, dividers, and hand-sanitizer stations at two central locations: (1) Armory Court, recently renovated as an open plaza, and (2) near the Adams Visitors Center, which is located adjacent to the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail. All tables will be open for use by anyone, and the Town will provide historic and tourist information.
- Bedford received $62,666 to support (1) new and improved pedestrian signals near the Narrow Gauge Rail Trail and on a school route, with connections to the library, Town Hall, and the VA hospital, (2) add delineators to mark off bicycle and pedestrian lanes, (3) provide cones and temporary paint to three neighborhoods to help residents mark out shared travel space, and (4) install parklets on Bedford Common and in other locations.
- Dalton received $70,441 to install solar-powered flashing safety beacons and new crosswalk markings on Main Street to improve pedestrian safety at the two pedestrian crossings at River Street and Depot Street, proximate to a school, senior housing, low-income housing, recreational fields, and a bus stop.
- Dennis received $25,000 to calm traffic and improve parking and pedestrian access to the village center, allow adjacent businesses to expand into private parking areas for outdoor dining and retail sales; and provide benches and tables to promote greater access for restaurants.
- Edgartown received $20,000 to temporarily support restaurants to create and/or expand seating areas on either private or public property, including in public roadways.
- Great Barrington received $69,955 to erect temporary barriers and signage to create a shared street on Railroad Street in downtown Great Barrington. The project will eliminate all on-street parking in favor of space for outdoor dining and entertainment in the street, which will in turn allow room on the sidewalks for retail racks and additional dining.
- Holden received $165,000 to install (1) three new ADA-compliant crosswalks and LED School Zone signs to serve Dawson Elementary School and (2) a flashing safety beacon to serve the Holden Pool Complex.
- Lenox received $29,989 to convert on- and off-street parking into outdoor dining areas, to include the pilot of traffic calming measures such as speed humps and new signage.
- Lexington received $30,200 to make a well-used walking route across Maple Street to Harrington Elementary School better and safer by adjusting the curb ramp to be ADA-compliant, installing a flashing safety beacon, and installing new signage. In addition to getting students safely across Maple Street, the improvements will provide individuals and families safe access to nearby fields, playground, and trails.
- Maynard received $31,525 to temporarily extend outdoor dining on private property, in a parking lot, and in a municipal parklet, and also calm traffic with the installation of speed radar signs and speed humps.
- Medfield received $11,500 to purchase materials for outdoor dining locations in public parks, sidewalks, and the front lawn of Town Hall. A local non-profit partner, Cultural Alliance of Medfield, will organize public art components, including painted murals.
- Medford received $223,000 to improve transit access to jobs and healthcare by connecting workers, especially essential workers and vulnerable populations, to the MBTA Orange Line in Environmental Justice areas of Medford and Somerville. Extending from Main Street in Medford to McGrath Highway (Route 28) in Somerville, this project will provide a dedicated inbound bus lane on Mystic Avenue (Route 38). The project will temporarily transform either a travel lane or a parking shoulder into a bus lane. The project, which is a partnership between Medford and Somerville, is a quick-build proof of concept with the potential to become permanent.
- Melrose received two grants for a total of $55,200 to create public parklets proximate to businesses and the MBTA Commuter Rail stations and to implement sidewalk extensions and traffic calming on residential streets.
- Montague received $35,300 to support (1) a temporary (painted) pedestrian sidewalk with refuge islands/curb extensions, (2) an improved crosswalk connecting Unity Park to the adjacent footpath, including solar-powered speed feedback signs to slow traffic, (3) temporary bumpouts at the 3rd and L Street intersection to calm traffic, and (4) a traffic calming ‘gateway’ using temporary curbs, planters, paint, and barriers.
- New Bedford received two grants for a total of $148,395 to create multiple outdoor dining destinations and safe pedestrian spaces within the city.
- Quincy received $188,938 to calm traffic along Quincy Avenue and provide new, safe bicycle and pedestrian connections to the Harbor, Weymouth Landing MBTA Station, Quincy Center MBTA Station, and commercial areas within Quincy Center, and improve conditions for MBTA buses using new Transit Signal Priority technology.
- Wellesley received $61,312 to support increased biking and walking by creating bike parking along Washington Street, and connecting the Fuller Brook Path to the Crosstown Trail. It will also enable greater physical separation by expanding the sidewalk areas and by transforming the on-street metered parking along the park at Washington Street and Worcester Street into ADA-compliant parklets for outdoor seating for dining, retail, and community activities.
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 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 by Framingham High student Kayleigh O’Connor, a SOURCE intern.