Project Eligibility - Shared Streets and Spaces Grant Program

Learn about eligibility requirements for municipalities and transit authorities.

Table of Contents

Overview

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/transit authorities 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 the ideas of 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 often score better than those that only include a single element. Applicants may not combine project types in order to achieve a higher maximum funding request.

Project types

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

Additional Resources

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

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