BOSTON – The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) announced today, February 22, nine schools and partner municipalities, including Framingham, have been awarded $15 million total in infrastructure funding awards through the Massachusetts Safe Routes to School (SRTS) 2021-2022 Infrastructure Funding Program.
The Program provides both design and construction services for projects between $300,000 and $1.5 million in areas immediately around public elementary and middle schools throughout the Commonwealth.
The most recent iteration of the SRTS Infrastructure Program, which has involved a competitive project solicitation process, began in 2019 and has now awarded approximately $35 million in funding for 30 infrastructure projects across the Commonwealth to date.
Eligible projects include transportation construction and capital improvement projects that will improve safety and/or increase the number of children walking and biking to school and are located within two miles of a school serving children in any grades between kindergarten to eighth grade.
In Framingham, the proposed improvements include the installation of new and reconstructing existing sidewalk and curbing on Second Street and Taralli Terrace and realigning the intersection of Beaver Park Road and Taralli Terrace including pavement markings and ADA ramps and crosswalks at the Harmony Grove Elementary School in District 9.
“MassDOT is pleased to provide these awards to schools and communities which will facilitate key infrastructure improvements to help ensure children and teenagers have access to safe routes to schools across the Commonwealth,” said MassDOT Transportation Secretary and CEO Jamey Tesler. “We were very pleased to see such a diverse and competitive group of submissions for this round of program grants and hope that other Safe Routes to School partners will be encouraged to apply in the future.”
Geographic location and social equity were taken into consideration during the project selection, and over half of the projects selected will be constructed in Environmental Justice neighborhoods.
Below are the other grant recipients:
- Brookline: Improving pedestrian and bicycle safety and access. Proposed improvements include new sidewalks, a two-way protected bike lane, crosswalks, ADA compliant wheelchair ramps, signage, and pavement markings at the Lincoln School.
- Chelsea: Improving an intersection adjacent to the Mary C. Burke Complex. Proposed improvements include new pedestrian signals, ADA compliant sidewalks and ramps, freshly laid out pedestrian medians, and traffic calming measures via geometric changes to the roadway layout. In addition, an outdated roadway approach to Eastern Avenue would be transformed into a pocket park.
- Dedham: Proposed improvements include installing new sidewalks on both sides of Maverick Street between Curve Street to Colburn Street with granite curb, constructing ADA compliant ramps in the wooded area between Hill Avenue and Avery Elementary School fields, and installing granite curb and concrete sidewalks on Whiting Avenue with ADA compliant ramps.
- Easthampton: Proposed improvements include constructing a 400-foot accessible multiuse path connection from the existing Manhan Rail Trail bike path to Park Street and a 3,600 foot, eight foot wide side path along Park Street to the entrance of the existing White Brook Middle and future Mountain View School. The project proposal also includes new ADA ramps and crosswalks at four street crossings, new ADA ramps at 19 driveways, and the narrowing of 1,300 feet of Park Street through new pavement markings for traffic calming and to accommodate the side path.
- Fitchburg: Increasing safety and the number of students walking to and from Memorial Middle School. Proposed improvements focus on three heavily trafficked routes to and from the school.
- .Groveland: Proposed improvements include the installation of new sidewalks along Center Street and constructing new ADA compliant curb ramps and crosswalks at the intersections of Center Street with Atwood Lane, with Harvard Street and Yale Street. The project aims to connect a few heavily populated neighborhoods and tie into the existing sidewalks on School Street (Route 97) which provides direct access to Dr. Elmer S. Bagnall Elementary School.
- Sharon: Renovating and constructing sidewalks on Cottage Street near the Cottage Street Elementary School. The project proposal also includes installing 10 flashing pedestrian lights along pedestrian crossings.
- Sturbridge: Proposed improvements include installing a pedestrian multi-use sidewalk from Cedar Street to Burgess Elementary School and other improvements on Burgess School Road including installing two pedestrian warning flashers, adding pavement markings, resetting current guardrails, and upgrading signs to meet MassDOT and MUTCD standards.
MassDOT received applications that were part of this round of infrastructure project funding for the SRTS Program in December of 2021.
Eligible applicants included public and charter schools involved with the Program’s non-infrastructure initiatives relating to education, encouragement, enforcement and evaluation. All projects were required to be within two miles of a school serving any grades from kindergarten to eighth grade, with a focus on increasing student safety and/or the number of students walking and biking to school. Proposed projects included both the construction of new facilities and the improvement of existing infrastructure. Program applicants needed to be an SRTS partner for at least six months prior to applying.
Funding for the program is set aside in the State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) within Federal Fiscal Year 2026. The selected projects will soon begin the project initiation and design process before being scheduled for construction in the STIP.
The Massachusetts SRTS Program is a federally-funded initiative of MassDOT. SRTS works with schools, communities, students, and families to increase active transportation among elementary and middle school students in the Commonwealth. SRTS promotes a collaborative, community-focused approach that fosters mutual partnerships between advocacy groups, law enforcement, education leaders and public health departments to promote safer routes for elementary and middle school students. The program currently serves over 980 schools in more than 250 communities across the Commonwealth.
In full transparency, the majority of this report is a press release from MassDOT.