- Massachusetts Department of Transportation
BOSTON — The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is announcing the award of $1,661,594 in the first round of funding from the Baker-Polito Administration's Shared Winter Streets and Spaces Grant Program. The program, which was launched on November 10, 2020, provides technical and funding assistance to help Massachusetts cities and towns conceive, design, and implement tactical changes to curbs, streets, and parking areas in support of public health, safe mobility, and renewed commerce, with a special focus on the particular challenges of winter.
"This new round of funding will further help communities take important steps to provide more access to mobility for residents in their downtowns and main streets as we all continue to work together to battle COVID-19," said Governor Charlie Baker. "We expect these grant awards to lead to additional infrastructure installations in cities and towns which help people to physically-distance and help people feel more comfortable about walking, bicycling and taking public transportation."
The awards announced today will support projects in 11 municipalities, of which 55 percent are designated Environmental Justice Communities and 54 percent are considered high-risk for COVID-19 infections.
"This new phase of the Shared Streets and Spaces Grant Program was intentionally designed to help with efforts to allow for commerce and travel during the winter months," said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. "Shared Winter Streets and Spaces funding underscores the priority the Administration places on listening to the needs of municipal leaders and then working in partnership to support those needs."
The Shared Winter Streets and Spaces Grant Program provides grants as small as $5,000 and as large as $500,000 for municipalities to quickly launch changes for safer walking, bicycling, public transit use, recreation, commerce, and civic activities. These improvements can be intentionally temporary or can be pilots of potentially permanent changes. MassDOT is particularly focused on projects that respond to the public health crisis and provide safe mobility for children, for senior citizens, for customers of public transportation, and to everyone who uses open space and parks.
"Shared Streets and Spaces served as an important lifeline for many of our cities and towns during the summer, and we saw creativity and resilience in the hundreds of applications that we received," said MassDOT Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack. "The Baker-Polito Administration created a new phase of the program, Shared Winter Streets & Spaces knowing that our streets and public spaces remain a vital asset during the winter months and can be used in all kinds of ways to help businesses, residents and municipalities deal with the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 crisis."
"Amidst COVID-19, cities and towns across Massachusetts have reimagined their streets and public spaces in exceptionally creative ways. This has given people new ways to be together, to stay active outdoors, and to be fully engaged in their communities. It has also helped sustain local businesses, and saved our sanity," said Mary Skelton Roberts, co-director of Climate at the Barr Foundation. "Just because colder weather is now approaching doesn't mean this kind of creativity needs to stop. We are proud to continue our partnership with the administration and grateful they are doubling funding for the next round of this statewide grant program."
The following list of cities and towns have been awarded Shared Winter Streets and Spaces grants in this funding round:
- Billerica received $79,600 to improve pedestrian safety through the installation of solar-powered pedestrian safety beacons in locations that have been chosen due to their proximity to transportation access points, retail/outdoor dining, elder/disabled housing, and public recreational facilities.
- Chicopee received $76,642.50 to create additional space for pedestrians and cyclists by establishing a temporary network of mixed-use lanes throughout Chicopee Center.
- Groveland received $29,590 to improve the safety and functionality of the walking network near the Bagnall School, the downtown area, and recreational facilities.
- Mattapoisett received $237,849 to provide a new, safe connection to the Mattapoisett Rail Trail and create a new safe route to Old Hammondtown Elementary School and areas of employment in Fairhaven.
- Newburyport received $286,211 to create several parklets to provide restaurants and businesses with sufficient space to operate outdoors and for pedestrians to physically distance, while also upgrading several pedestrian crossings with reconstructed curb cuts and crossing signals in order to make them fully accessible.
- North Andover received $200,926 to construct 1,100 new feet of sidewalk in order to provide better and safer connections among the Stevens Memorial Library, North Andover Middle School, St. Michael's Church and School, and surrounding neighborhoods.
- Peabody received $70,000 to increase public comfort and safety with the addition of lighting in the downtown area in order to attract activity to local businesses in the evening hours and aid in outdoor placemaking activities.
- Randolph received $225,400 to reconstruct and improve the safety of Crawford Square, which is a central civic space in the heart of Randolph, with concrete walkways, a new seating area, and new lighting.
- Salisbury received $180,000 to augment an in-process Complete Streets-funded project by adding benches, bike racks, landscaping, safety lighting, an improved streetscape, and a colored concrete sidewalk to attract pedestrians and commerce.
- West Boylston received $49,000 to improve pedestrian safety at four locations proximate to a school and recreational facilities.
- Westfield received $225,776.25 to upgrade and expand an existing sidewalk, which is in poor condition, to a ten-foot wide shared-use path. Improved facilities will also be provided at an adjacent PVTA bus stop. The new shared-use path will connect a mix of civic, educational, commercial, medical, residential, and recreational uses.
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,' and new sidewalks, protected bike lanes, off-road trails, bicycle parking, crosswalks, traffic-calming measures, and 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 & 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 three rounds following the round announced today. 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
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 space. 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 Winter Streets and Spaces project ideas.
The Shared Streets and Spaces Grant Program was established in June 2020 and was 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 total was allocated to 103 municipalities to implement 123 projects, from pop-up bikes lanes to safe 'parklets' for outdoor dining to improved crosswalks to dedicated bus lanes, as well as a range of traffic calming measures.
The new phase of the program, Shared Winter Streets and Spaces, has a total amount of $10 million allocated for particular challenges of winter months.