A Shared Streets and Spaces project in Montague's Turners Falls village used paint and flexible bollards to narrow intersections shorten crosswalks on Third Street. Montague recently won grant funds to make these changes permanent with more durable materials. (Franklin Regional Council of Governments photo).
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) delivered welcome news to 96 projects across the Commonwealth on July 21 as it released $6 million in grants to 18 communities through its 2022 Complete Streets Funding Program. In addition, the state agency gifted another $6.5 million to 78 applicants in its ongoing Shared Streets and Spaces program.
MassDOT's Complete Streets program incentivizes municipal governments to learn about designing safer streets for bikes and pedestrians and integrate safer street designs into their local planning and public works projects.
StreetsBlog Mass noted that since the program's launch in 2016, 235 cities and towns have worked through the program to adopt a local Complete Streets Policy, and 205 municipalities have completed the next step of developing a Complete Streets Prioritization Plan, which makes projects eligible for construction funding.
"Cities and towns across the Commonwealth are safer today than they were several years ago for people walking, bicycling and taking public transportation due to grants awarded through the Complete Streets Funding Program to create crosswalks, widen sidewalks, install pedestrian traffic signals, expand bicycle lanes and make travel easier between bus stops and public transit stations," said acting Transportation Secretary and CEO Jamey Tesler in a press release accompanying the grant announcements.
The following are highlights from this summer's round of Complete Streets grants:
- The Town of Auburn, a suburb of Worcester, received $231,216 to install a short multi-use path between Auburn Street and the Auburn Public Library.
- Another Worchester suburb, Millbury, was granted $225,501 to improve a segment Elm Street in its village center.
- In the central part of the state, Brookfield got $400,000 to improve safety along River Street near its Town Common with new sidewalks and pavement markings to delineate bicycle lanes. The project also involves traffic-calming upgrades at the intersection with Post Road (Route 9) to provide safer access to the Brookfield Elementary School.
- North Brookfield received $400,000 to reconstruct deteriorated sidewalks and install new lighting, ADA-compliant ramps, curb extensions, mid-block crosswalks, and landscaping on North Main Street.
- The City of Cambridge received $400,000 to construct a 10-ft.-wide, two-way separated bike lane and a sidewalk where none currently exist along the north side of Huron Avenue between Fresh Pond Parkway and Glacken Field.
- Medford was granted $400,000 to implement safety improvements at Haines Square including ADA-compliant curb ramps, curb extensions, and crosswalks.
- Natick received $336,942 to implement pedestrian and bicycle safety improvements along Campus Drive and West Street adjacent to Natick High School.
- Just east of New Bedford, the town of Fairhaven was presented with $332,636 to conduct a road diet and add buffered bike lanes along Alden and Howland Roads to Bridge Street, along with crosswalk improvements, new bus shelters and speed feedback signs at various locations.
- New bicycle facilities along Springfield's Tapley Street Corridor, as well as new sidewalks on Bay Street near Central High School, will be funded with a $192,500 grant.
MassDOT also announced its latest round of Shared Streets and Spaces grants on July 21. The new funding program was established during the pandemic to fund quick-build street design changes that support public health, safe mobility and small business.
The Shared Streets grants tend to be smaller, with an average award of $83,300 spread among 78 grantees, according to StreetsBlog Mass.
The current round of funding will finance conversions of underutilized street space to public plazas and outdoor dining areas in Worcester, Springfield, Andover, Ashburnham, Fitchburg, Medford, Saugus, Taunton and Williamstown, plus new bikeshare stations in Cambridge, Newton, Brookline and Concord.
Among the program's larger grants are:
- A $200,000 award to Swampscott to build a new multiuse trail to Swampscott Middle School, plus solar-powered pedestrian safety beacons, bike racks and two bike repair stations.
- Another $200,000 goes to the city of Greenfield to replace asphalt in a town-owned parking lot on Main Street with new trees and gardens.
- The town of Whitman, just east of Brockton, received a $184,022 grant to install curb extensions, ADA-compliant crosswalks, shade trees, benches, and bike parking at the intersection of Washington Street at South Avenue/Temple Street (Route 27) in the heart of Whitman Center.
- A $127,337 grant went to the town of Montague to build widened sidewalks and curb extensions that were piloted with temporary materials under an earlier Shared Streets and Spaces grant.
Today's top stories