MassDOT Awards Framingham Highway Department $249,000 Grant

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The following is a press release from MassDOT

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FRAMINGHAM – The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is announcing the award of $3,053,464.41 in the second round of funding from the Baker-Polito Administration’s Shared Winter Streets and Spaces Program.

The program, a new phase of the Shared Streets and Spaces Program which launched in June and provided a total of $10.2 million to municipalities, provides technical and funding assistance to help Massachusetts cities and towns during the winter months conceive, design, and implement tactical changes to curbs, streets, and parking areas in support of public health, safe mobility, and renewed commerce.

The awards announced today will support 17 projects in 15 municipalities, of which 62 percent are designated Environmental Justice communities and 80 percent are considered high-risk for COVID-19 infections.

The first round of funding in the Shared Winter Streets and Spaces program was announced December 10 and was awarded to projects in 11 municipalities, of which 55 percent had been designated Environmental Justice Communities and 54 percent considered high-risk for COVID-19 infections.

“City and town officials have worked hard during the pandemic to support small businesses and provide sufficient space for safe outdoor activities, including walking and biking,” said Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack. “The Baker-Polito Administration has made a total of $10 million available in this new phase of Shared Streets because the challenges of getting around and of keeping businesses open are different and more complex in the winter. I am proud of the mix of projects and municipalities represented in this round of awards and look forward to receiving more applications over the next few months. This funding will help communities keep vibrant until next year when a vaccine is more widely available and when there comes a time when physical-distancing restrictions can be loosened.”

Framingham received $249,052.65 to create new and better sidewalks, including ADA-compliant curbing and crosswalks, in the area of Leland, Irving, and Universal Streets.

Types of eligible projects under the Shared Winter Streets and Spaces grant program include:

  • Main Streets: Investments in local downtowns and villages that repurpose streets, plazas, sidewalks, curbs, and parking areas to facilitate outdoor activities and winter programming, including but not limited to facilities for eating, shopping, play, and community events and spaces for all ages. Grant Limit: up to $300,000
  • Reimagined Streets: Creation of safe spaces for people walking and biking by implementing low-speed streets, ‘shared streets,’ new sidewalks, new protected bike lanes, new off-road trails, new bicycle parking, new crosswalks, new traffic-calming measures, and new ADA-compliant ramps. Grant Limit: Up to $300,000
  • Better Buses: Establishment of new facilities for public buses, including but not limited to dedicated bus lanes, traffic-signal priority equipment, and bus shelters. Grant Limit: Up to $500,000 
  • Shared Mobility: Support for the capital costs of equipment for new bikeshare and micromobility programs. 
  • Grant Limit: Up to $200,000 
  • Making Pilots Permanent: Conversion of temporary Shared Streets and Spaces projects to permanent facilities. 
  • Grant Limit: Up to $300,000  

Applications are being accepted on a rolling basis, and decisions will be made in four rounds. Applications need to be submitted by:

  • January 5th for consideration and award by February 2nd
  • January 29th for consideration and award by February 26th
  • February 26th for consideration and award by March 26th

The project completion and spending deadline for all four rounds is May 31, 2021. 

Applications will be given preference if they include elements for children and youth, for seniors, for accessing public transit, and for accessing public parks and other open spaces. Applications from municipalities that are identified as Environmental Justice communities will also be given preference, as will municipalities in which the median income of all residents is lower than the statewide median income. Lastly, communities identified as at high risk for COVID-19 transmission will also be given preference.

Applicant municipalities are encouraged to engage the public in the development of Shared Streets and Spaces project ideas.  

The Shared Streets and Spaces Program was established in June 2020 and were immediately popular with Massachusetts cities and towns. Through the program, the Baker-Polito Administration provided grants from $5,000 to $300,000 for quick-build improvements to sidewalks, curbs, streets, on-street parking spaces, and off-street parking lots in support of public health, safe mobility, and renewed commerce during the COVID-19 period.

Over 100 days, $10.2 million was allocated to 103 municipalities to implement 123 projects, from pop-up bike lanes to safe ‘parklets’ for outdoor dining to improved crosswalks to dedicated bus lanes, as well as a range of traffic calming measures. 

$10 million has been allocated for this phase of the program, which focuses on the particular challenges of winter.

Information about the Shared Streets and Spaces Municipal Grant Program, including information about how municipalities can access free technical assistance, can be found at www.mass.gov/shared-winter-streets-and-spaces-grant-program.   

editor

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