Program Overview - Shared Streets and Spaces Grant Program

A funding program that supports quick-launch improvements to public health, safe mobility, and strengthened commerce. Every municipality and public transit authority is eligible to apply.

Table of Contents

Overview

The Shared Streets and Spaces Program is administered by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT). The program provides funding to municipalities and public transit authorities to quickly implement improvements to plazas, sidewalks, curbs, streets, bus stops, parking areas, and other public spaces in support of public health, safe mobility, and strengthened commerce. Building on the success of the program first launched as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic during the summer of 2020, the program continues to be an integral funding source for communities as they address ongoing challenges and seek to improve their transportation infrastructure.

Since its start in June of 2020, the Shared Streets and Spaces Program has awarded a total of $33 million dollars to 183 municipalities and four transit authorities to implement 310 projects. Funded projects have ranged widely from dedicated bus lanes and road diets to parklets and bikeshare stations. Shared Streets and Spaces has helped municipalities to reconceive their streets not only as throughfares for vehicles but as civic spaces with a range of uses for all of us, no matter our age, ability, or preferred ways of getting around.

MassDOT is pleased to announce that the fourth grant round of the Shared Streets and Spaces Program is now open. Applications are due March 1, 2022. Only municipalities and public transit authorities are eligible to apply. Applications are submitted via an online form. For more details, visit the How to Apply page.

While multiple project types are eligible for Shared Streets and Spaces funding, this funding round will be placing particular emphasis on a specific type of roadway project: the management of vehicular speeds through design interventions. “Speed Management” involves making targeted changes to streets, using identified safety measures, in order to reduce crashes and the severity of crashes through safer and more consistent vehicle speeds. With speeding and speeding-related crashes becoming more frequent on both our highways and in our local neighborhoods, and injuries and fatalities increasing, Speed Management has never been so important. Everyone can benefit from slower and safer roads. Learn more about MassDOT's Speed Management philosophy. Learn more about Speed Management projects as well as other eligible project types below.

Speed Management projects must provide MassDOT with observed speed data before and after intervention. Use of MassDOT's Speed Management Data Form is required at the time of application. The Data Form guides municipalities in collecting speed data. Municipalities that have already collected speed data may simply complete the Summary tab of the Data Form and submit it with the raw data. Projects are not penalized for efficacy.

Municipalities and transit authorities are wholly responsible for the implementation of funded projects as well as for adhering to any local and state regulations pertaining to the advertisement and hiring of consultants or construction contractors. Unless work is being conducted by municipal staff, all work must be conducted by a MassDOT prequalified firm or contractor. Materials purchased using funds from this program become the property of the municipality. Funding provided by the Shared Streets and Spaces program does not change the control or ownership of any municipal roadway.

Awardees must enter into a contract with MassDOT for the implementation of the approved project before any work is conducted. See Project Implementation for more details. All projects must be completed by December 31, 2023. Grant limits vary by project type up to $500,000. All Commonwealth municipalities and public transit authorities – including those that have received Shared Streets and Spaces grants in the past – are eligible to apply.

All awarded applicants are required to submit progress reports provided by MassDOT. Upon project completion, submittal of a final report and photographs is required. Failure to complete reporting documents may result in a delay of receipt of funding.

Program deadlines

Application Deadline

Award Notification Date

Project Implementation Deadline

March 1, 2022

2 months

December 31, 2023

Application details

Municipalities may submit only two applications per funding round and may only be awarded one grant. As such, it is important that municipal departments communicate with each other and only submit their priority applications. Applications with multiple project types are allowed, so long as they fit together as a whole. Applicants can also submit packages of identical improvements, such as multiple crosswalks in different locations or multiple bus shelters. Municipalities may also work together to propose cross-municipality projects, provided one municipality acts as the lead applicant. School districts may not apply directly for funding; applications must be submitted by municipal staff or officials.

The application is a fillable online form that collects information about the applicant municipality or transit authority and about the proposed project. The applicant must demonstrate how the project’s goals relate to the goals of the Shared Streets and Spaces Program and detail the project’s implementation plan and timeline. The applicant must submit a project budget using the standard MassDOT template and any other supplemental information necessary to review the application.

It is also required at the time of application for a municipality or transit authority to understand ownership over the proposed infrastructure and detail whether any right of way acquisitions, easements, or use licenses are required. Applicants are also required to demonstrate that appropriate public notification and consultation related to the proposed project has been executed.

Applications can be submitted online. Learn more on How to Apply.

Project eligibility

Every municipality and public transit authority in the Commonwealth is eligible to apply for funding. A municipality may submit up to two applications but may only be selected for one grant per funding round. Equipment Only applications do not count against application or award limits. Recipients of prior Shared Streets and Spaces awards are required to demonstrate that all funds have been fully expended or have been accounted for in an extension request letter to MassDOT, before applying for additional funding.

Applicants must demonstrate that proposed projects can be implemented by December 31, 2023 in order to be considered eligible. Projects that require substantive roadway or curb reconstruction may be better suited for other programs, such as the MassDOT Complete Streets Funding Program or MassWorks. For large trails or shared use paths, municipalities are encouraged to apply for MassTrails funding, which is currently accepting applications until February 1, 2022.

Projects that focus solely on the maintenance or repair of existing infrastructure are not eligible for Shared Streets and Spaces funding and are better suited for use of Chapter 90 funds. Pavement resurfacing is not an eligible expense unless it is being done in order to provide for the striping of bicycle lanes or other meaningfully different uses of a roadway.

Any improvements funded through this program must be fully compliant with applicable state and federal laws related to access by persons with disabilities and may not remove or disrupt existing transit service or bicycle and pedestrian accommodations. Contingencies, field engineering, and design costs may not exceed 10% of the project budget. Mobilization, traffic control, and police detail are not eligible costs.

Projects must be located on municipally owned property that is accessible to the public. If the proposed project location is not already owned by the municipality, proof of the purchase, easement, or licensing agreement must be provided to MassDOT before funding is awarded. Program funds may not be utilized for the acquisition of property or right of way.

Municipalities may propose projects on MassDOT-owned roadways; however, these projects are subject to MassDOT permitting regulations. It is recommended that a municipality discuss a proposed project on a MassDOT roadway with their MassDOT District before submitting an application.

Projects must align with the program goals of supporting public health, safe mobility, and strengthened commerce. For this round of funding, projects that promote Speed Management will be prioritized. In general, successful projects are those that can be implemented quickly, flexibly, at relatively low cost, and that have demonstrated community support. The categories of eligible projects are intentionally broad but must include elements from at least one of the project types listed below. Projects including more than one element are often more successful than those that only include a single element. Applicants may not combine project types in order to achieve a higher maximum funding request.

  • Speed Management – Make streets safer for all users by reducing vehicle speeds. Projects must propose appropriate interventions to address identified speed issues. Projects must provide MassDOT with observed speed data before and after intervention. Use of MassDOT’s Speed Management Data Form is required at the time of application. The Data Form guides municipalities in collecting speed data. Municipalities that have already collected data may simply complete the Summary tab of the Data Form and submit it with the raw data. Projects are not penalized for efficacy. Learn more about MassDOT's Speed Management philosophy. Download the Speed Management Data Form at the end of this section. Grants for this project type may be awarded up to $200,000. Example interventions include:
    • Road diets or lane narrowing
    • Speed humps, cushions, or tables
    • Mini roundabouts or traffic circles
    • Tightened radii or curb extensions
    • Raised center medians
    • Raised intersections or crosswalks
    • Chicanes
    • Speed transition zones from rural to urban/suburban environments
    • Pedestrian activated warning devices such as Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons
    • Pedestrian signal upgrades at intersections or mid-block crossings
    • Speed feedback signs
    • Other traffic calming elements or street reconfigurations
  • Bicycle and Pedestrian Infrastructure – Make biking and walking a safe, comfortable, and convenient option for everyday trips. Grants for this project type may be awarded up to $200,000. Example interventions include:
    • New or significantly widened sidewalks
    • New or improved pedestrian crossings
      • Such as new paint, shortened crossings, better ramps, or refuge islands
    • Pedestrian signal upgrades at intersections or mid-block crossings
      • Such as Leading Pedestrian Intervals, Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons, or HAWK signals. Note: Modified traffic signals require plans stamped by a registered Professional Engineer
    • Bike lanes
      • On-road or off-road, with a preference for separated or protected
      • Note: Sharrows are not considered a safe bicycle facility
    • Trails or shared use paths connections
      • Note: For larger trails and shared use paths, MassDOT recommends applying for funding through MassTrails, which is currently accepting applications until February 1, 2022.
    • At-grade rail crossing improvements for bicyclists and pedestrians
    • Bicycle parking
    • Pedestrian or bicyclist lighting
    • Pedestrian or bicyclist wayfinding
    • New bikeshare equipment
    • Bicycle-friendly drain grates
  • Transit Supportive Infrastructure - Establish new facilities for public buses, including but not limited to dedicated bus lanes, traffic signal priority equipment, and bus shelters. Grants for this project type may be awarded up to $500,000. Example interventions include:
    • Dedicated bus or bus/bike lanes
    • Transit service improvements
      • Such as traffic signal prioritization equipment
    • Transit station/stop access improvements
      • Such as shelters, lighting, signage, or repairs
  • Main Streets – Repurposing streets, plazas, sidewalks, curbs, and parking areas to facilitate outdoor activities and programming. If enclosing an area for outdoor activities adjacent to active vehicular traffic without a raised curb or other meaningful separation, barrier materials must be appropriate to the level and speed of the vehicular traffic. Grants for this project type may be awarded up to $100,000. Example interventions include:
    • Repurposed and/or expanded portions of streets, curbs, and/or sidewalks to create more safe space for people to walk and bike, retail activity, dining, and community programming
    • Repurposed parking areas (on- and off-street) for walking, biking, recreation, outdoor seating, retail and/or dining
    • Heaters, tents, tables and chairs, lighting, and other equipment to support outdoor programming
      • Note: Must be part of a larger project that makes use of streets, plazas, sidewalks, curbs, and/or parking areas
  • Equipment Only – Applications requesting funds solely for the purchase of eligible equipment up to $50,000. Municipalities are eligible to receive two Equipment Only grants in addition to an award for another project type within the same grant round. Equipment Only awards do not count against the limit of one award per funding round. No design costs, labor costs, or contingencies should be included in Equipment Only applications. Design plans may be required by MassDOT depending on equipment requested. Any equipment that is eligible for funding through other project types is eligible for Equipment Only. Examples of Equipment Only items include:
    • Speed feedback signs
    • Pedestrian activated warning devices such as Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons
    • Flex posts and other bicycle lane delineators
    • Bicycle racks
    • Bicycle repair stations
    • Signal equipment
    • Pavement markings and/or paint (must describe where and how it will be used)
    • Safety/directional signage for pedestrians and bicyclists (must describe where and how it will be used)
    • Snow removal equipment for pedestrian and bicyclist facilities
    • Note: Equipment for outdoor dining/programming must be part of a larger Main Streets project that makes use of streets, plazas, sidewalks, curbs, and/or parking areas
  • Ineligible Project Types and Costs
    • Projects that cannot be implemented and operational by December 31, 2023
    • Projects to that only seek to maintain or repair existing infrastructure or facilities
    • Projects that only seek to make existing sidewalks or crosswalks compliant with state or federal access laws and do not otherwise significantly expand or improve the infrastructure
    • Project costs incurred prior to the issuance of an award from MassDOT
    • Brick or other types of decorative sidewalks or crosswalks
    • Funding to seed municipally administered grant programs
    • Ongoing maintenance, operational, and enforcement costs associated with a project
    • Projects on private property that are not open to the general public
    • Projects that detour or suspend public transit service
    • Projects that impede travel by people with disabilities or violate the Americans with Disabilities Act or the requirements of the Massachusetts Architectural Access Board, even temporarily
    • Projects that remove or impede access to existing bicycle or pedestrian facilities, even temporarily
    • Contingencies, field engineering, or design costs above 10% of the project total
    • Mobilization, traffic control, or police detail costs
    • Costs of propane for outdoor heaters, including the costs of ongoing propane contracts

Selection Criteria

Selection of projects is based on need and merit. The Shared Streets and Spaces Program will prioritize applications that meet the following criteria:

  • Applications from municipalities that have never received a Shared Streets and Spaces award.
  • Projects that have an estimated cost below $50,000.
  • Projects that include elements from the Speed Management project type.
  • Projects on roadways with a demonstrated need for Speed Management, according to local information, data, plans, or community concerns. The project needs to be proximate to the area of concern. Applicants can provide a wide range of evidence documenting an identified safety concern.
  • Projects located in a Census Block Group identified as an Environmental Justice Community.
  • Projects located in a Census Block Group identified as having a median household income below the statewide median income.
  • Projects that support safe travel to schools, including safe walking, bicycling, and pick-up/drop-off areas within two miles of schools or other facilities for children and youth
  • Projects that support safe routes for seniors, including safe walking and bicycling facilities within one mile of senior centers, housing for elders, and travel corridors used by seniors.
  • Projects that provide safe routes to open spaces, playgrounds, and parks, including new pedestrian and bicycle facilities to make new connections.
  • Projects that provide key public transit connections, including safe walking and bicycling connections within one mile of transit facilities, or support transit-oriented development.
  • Projects in communities that have Housing Choice designation, have implemented economic development best practices through the Community Compact program, and/or are proposing a project that will benefit from an Opportunity Zone Fund investment will be prioritized.
  • Projects that demonstrate community support through specific public involvement activities beyond simply providing notice.

    Additional Resources

    Project implementation

    Municipalities and transit authorities are entirely responsible for the implementation of an awarded Shared Streets and Spaces project. Before any work begins, awardees will enter into a contract with MassDOT for the completion of an approved project. MassDOT will gather all necessary information from the award recipient to initiate the contract shortly after award notification is sent. Please note that this is different from prior program years, where a contract for each award was not required. The contract will include the approved scope and budget, as well as a deadline for project implementation. Work may only commence after the Notice to Proceed (NTP) for the contract is issued by MassDOT.

    If approved work cannot be conducted by the deadline listed in the contract, the municipality or transit authority must alert MassDOT as soon as possible but at a minimum of 60 days before contract expiration. Contract extensions may be provided on a case-by-case basis with proper justification. However, extensions are not guaranteed, and awardees should work to implement projects under the originally approved timeframe. Any work conducted after contract expiration is not eligible for reimbursement and that funding may no longer be available to the municipality/transit authority.

    If a project can no longer be implemented as originally approved, the awardee must reach out to MassDOT to discuss a possible change in scope. Any scope changes must be approved by MassDOT and incorporated into the award contract via an amendment. Scope changes are not guaranteed, and agreements may be nulled at MassDOT discretion if projects can no longer be implemented as originally approved.

    New in 2022, the Shared Streets and Spaces Program provides funding on a reimbursement basis instead of up-front payments that were provided in the past. In order to receive award funds, recipients must submit a Reimbursement Request, Payroll (600) Form (if necessary), List of Materials (545 Form) and required supporting documentation via email to their District State Aid Engineer after expenses are incurred. The forms can be found online, as well as up-to-date State Aid Engineer contact information. Once all necessary information has been provided, MassDOT will process the payment electronically to the account set up specifically for this purpose.

    This reimbursement process is the same as that used for Chapter 90 and Complete Streets Funding Program projects. This change from up-front payment to reimbursement ensures MassDOT is adequately able to track project spending and progress in order to meet fiscal reporting requirements. Spending reports from prior program years have also indicated that immediate up-front payments to awardees are not necessary.

    Projects may be implemented by municipal staff. If hiring consultants or contractors to conduct the work, municipalities must adhere to all applicable local and state regulations related to the implementation of a project, including the advertisement and award of a contract to complete approved work. All work must be conducted by a MassDOT prequalified firm or contractor.

    Applicant municipalities must secure all necessary local approvals, including but not limited to planning boards, conservation commissions, relevant public safety entities, and other municipal bodies before work begins. Projects proposed on MassDOT-owned roads require a Highway Access Permit before any work begins. More information on how to apply can be found on the Highway Access Permit page.

    Reporting requirements

    MassDOT will contact municipalities and transit authorities after project implementation is underway in order to request completion of a MassDOT-provided progress report. The progress report is an online form that collects information about the status of the project’s implementation. Completion of this report within the stated timeframe is required of all awarded municipalities and transit authorities.

    After a project is completed, awardees are required to submit a final report provided my MassDOT. Failure to submit required progress and final reports by the provided deadlines may result in the entity being ineligible for reimbursement or additional funding in future award rounds.

    Program questions

    Who can apply for this grant?

    Only Massachusetts municipalities and public transit authorities may apply.

    Can engineering and design services for eligible projects be funded, or is funding only for construction?

    Engineering and design costs may comprise up to 10% of a total project budget. Applicants are urged to take advantage of the free Technical Assistance that is offered as a part of the program. The Technical Assistance teams can provide design services. Contact information for Technical Assistance providers can be found on the Technical Assistance page.

    Can this grant be retroactively applied to the costs of work already done?

    No. Project costs incurred prior to the issuance of a Notice to Proceed under this program are not considered eligible expenses.

    Can municipalities or transit authorities submit more than one application?

    Municipalities and transit authorities may submit up to two distinct applications but may be awarded only one grant. A single application can contain multiple sub-projects, however, provided the different pieces make sense as a thematic whole. Equipment Only projects do not count against any application limits.

    Can a municipality or transit authority receive more than one grant per fund round?

    No, except Equipment Only applications do not count against application or award limits.

    We are a municipality working with private property owners to implement a Shared Streets and Spaces project. Is a lease agreement for public use of the private property sufficient for us to apply for these Shared Streets and Spaces funds?

    Yes. Municipalities may receive funding for improvements on private land as long as a legal agreement for the public use of the land has been obtained. Improvements made to private property that are not open and available for public use are not eligible under this grant program.

    Are improvements on state-owned right of way eligible through this program?

    MassDOT will consider the inclusion of roadways owned or controlled by MassDOT or by the Department of Conservation and Recreation. Applicants are strongly encouraged to begin the access permit approval process with their Highway District Office prior to applying for a MassDOT grant. View the Highway Access Permits page for more information on how to apply. Nothing about this program will change the control or ownership of any municipal roadway.

    Can this grant cover the costs of an evaluation of the project?

    Yes. If municipalities or transit authorities want to perform an evaluation specifically related to the awarded project, those costs would need to be included in the grant request. Evaluation costs should represent no more than 5% of the total project cost.

    Can Shared Streets and Spaces work be performed by municipal Public Works personnel or other municipal staff (as opposed to hiring a contractor)?

    Yes.

    My application was approved. What is our next step?

    Before any work begins, municipalities and transit authorities will enter into a contract with MassDOT for the completion of an approved project. MassDOT will gather all necessary information from the recipient to initiate the contract shortly after award notification is sent. Please note that this is different from prior program rounds. The contract will include the approved scope and budget, as well as a deadline for project implementation. Work may only commence after the Notice to Proceed for the contract is issued by MassDOT.

    How do we receive award funds?

    New in 2022, the Shared Streets and Spaces Program provides funding on a reimbursement basis instead of up-front payments that were provided in the past. This means that municipalities and transit authorities will request funds from MassDOT after costs have been incurred. In order to receive award funds, awardees must submit a Reimbursement Request, Payroll (600) Form (if necessary), List of Materials (545 Form) and required supporting documentation via email to their District State Aid Engineer. The forms can be found online, as well as up-to-date State Aid Engineer contact information.

    How do I request reimbursement for approved expenditures?

    New in 2022, the Shared Streets and Spaces Program provides funding on a reimbursement basis instead of up-front payments that were provided in the past. In order to receive award funds, award recipients must submit a Reimbursement Request, Payroll (600) Form (if necessary), List of Materials (545 Form) and required supporting documentation via email to their District State Aid Engineer after expenses are incurred. The forms can be found online, as well as up-to-date State Aid Engineer contact information. This reimbursement process is the same as that used for Chapter 90 or Complete Streets Funding Program projects.

    The Reimbursement Request collects basic project information, as well as how much money was approved, how much has been spent to date, and how much is currently being requested for reimbursement. This form must be signed by the appropriate municipal staff.

    The Payroll (600) Form is used to record personnel time on Chapter 90 projects. This form only needs to be used if the municipality is requesting reimbursement for municipal employee labor costs.

    The List of Materials (HED 454) is a detailed list of materials purchased for the project. This must accompany the reimbursement request.

    When applicable, the municipality or transit authority will also provide the Summary of Bids Form. In addition to these forms, municipalities will also need to submit invoices or receipts for the costs incurred as applicable. For this reason, it is very important to maintain organized records of work performed or materials purchased during project implementation.

    Why does MassDOT no longer provide up-front payments for this program?

    Shared Streets and Spaces grants are now reimbursement based. Similar to our other grant programs, this ensures MassDOT is adequately able to track project spending and progress in order to meet fiscal reporting requirements. Spending reports from prior program years have also indicated that immediate up-front payments to awardees are not necessary.

    We can no longer implement our project by the program deadline. What do we do?

    If approved work cannot be completed by the deadline listed in the contract, the recipient must alert MassDOT as soon as possible but at a minimum of 60 days before contract expiration. Contract extensions may be provided on a case-by-case basis with proper justification. However, extensions are not guaranteed, and awardees should work to implement projects under the originally approved timeframe. Any work conducted after contract expiration is not eligible for reimbursement and may no longer be available to the municipality/transit authority.

    One or more of the elements of my approved Shared Streets and Spaces project was not able to be implemented. Can we change the scope to accomplish something else?

    If a project can no longer be implemented as originally approved, the awardee must reach out to MassDOT to discuss a possible change in scope. Any scope changes must be approved by MassDOT and incorporated into the award contract via an amendment. Scope changes are not guaranteed, and agreements may be nulled at MassDOT discretion if projects can no longer be implemented as originally approved.

    Can I reallocate any leftover funds towards a different project?

    No. Funds may only be allocated towards expenses included in the originally approved scope of work. Any other costs are not eligible to be reimbursed.

    Do I need to use my town’s existing suppliers and contractors for the Shared Streets and Spaces project? Or can I source my own materials through alternative suppliers?

    A municipality may source approved materials and labor through existing or alternative suppliers or contractors. However, all applicable local and state bidding and procurement rules must be followed.

    What are the reporting requirements for this grant?

    Award recipients are required to complete progress and final grant reports via an online form provided by MassDOT. Failure to submit reports when required could result in delay of receipt of funds.

    Can MassDOT provide any additional funding for my Shared Streets and Spaces project if it runs overbudget?

    Unfortunately, no.

    Does MassDOT have a list of approved suppliers and contractors that I can consult?

    Unless work is being conducted by municipal staff, the use of MassDOT Prequalified consultants or horizontal construction contractors is required.

    Applicants may find it helpful to consult the State Contract Guide developed by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) for frequently used materials. Please contact Alison Felix, Senior Transportation Planner at MAPC, at afelix@mapc.org with questions. Alison can also assist municipalities located outside of the MAPC region and may be able to negotiate a better price.

    I have received a Shared Streets and Spaces grant and have additional questions about how to proceed. Is there someone I can talk to?

    Yes! Please email sharedstreets@dot.state.ma.us and we will arrange a time to speak with you.

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