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MassDOT Announces $12.5 Million in Shared Streets, Complete Streets Grants

Turners Falls shared streets and spaces project in Montague, Mass.

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. Photo courtesy of the Franklin Regional Council of Governments.

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation is delivering good news to 96 projects across the Commonwealth this week as it releases $6 million in grants to 18 communities through its 2022 Complete Streets Funding Program, plus another $6.5 million to 78 applicants in its ongoing Shared Streets and Spaces program.

MassDOT's Complete Streets program incentivizes local governments to learn about designing safer streets for bikes and pedestrians and integrate safer street designs into their local planning and public works projects. 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.

Some 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.
    • The Town of Millbury, another Worcester suburb, received $225,501 to improve a segment Elm Street in its village center.
    • In central Massachusetts, Brookfield received $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 ten-foot two-way separated bike lane and a sidewalk where there is currently none along the north side of Huron Avenue between Fresh Pond Parkway and Glacken Field.
    • The City of Medford received $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.
    • Fairhaven, just east of New Bedford, received $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.
    • The City of Springfield received $192,500 for new bicycle facilities in the Tapley Street Corridor as well as new sidewalks on Bay Street near Central High School.

More details on other complete streets grants are available on the MassDOT blog.

On Wednesday, MassDOT also announced its latest round of Shared Streets and Spaces grants, a new funding program 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.

This summer's round of grants 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.

Some of this year's larger grants include:

    • A $200,000 grant to Swampscott to construct a new multiuse trail to Swampscott Middle School, plus solar-powered pedestrian safety beacons, bike racks, and two bike repair stations.
The landscaping plan for a new parking lot-to-park conversion in downtown Greenfield. Courtesy of the City of Greenfield.
The landscaping plan for a new parking lot-to-park conversion in downtown Greenfield. Courtesy of the City of Greenfield.
The landscaping plan for a new parking lot-to-park conversion in downtown Greenfield. Courtesy of the City of Greenfield.

A $200,000 grant to the City of Greenfield to replace asphalt in a town-owned parking lot on Main Street with new trees and gardens (sketch at right).

  • A $184,022 grant to the Town of Whitman, just east of Brockton, 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 $127,337.00 grant to the Town of Montague to build widened sidewalks and curb extensions that were piloted with temporary materials (pictured at the top of this article) under an earlier Shared Streets and Spaces grant.
  • Learn more about the Shared Streets and Spaces grants from the MassDOT press release.

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