On Wednesday, September 23, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) announced the award of $858,502 in the latest rounds of funding from the Shared Streets & Spaces program, one day after the window to apply closed. With the award of these new rounds of funding, the program will have given out a total of $8.5 million to fund 99 projects in 85 municipalities across the Commonwealth, of which 60% are Environmental Justice communities. This new round will provide $868,301.35 to projects in seven municipalities, of which 71% are Environmental Justice communities.
A MassDOT spokesperson said that the deadline will not be extended, and no additional funds beyond the remaining $2.3 million are expected to be added.
The program provided technical and funding assistance of between $5,000 and $300,000 to help Massachusetts cities and towns conceive, design, and implement tactical changes to curbs, streets, on-street parking spaces and off-street parking lots in support of public health, safe mobility, and renewed commerce. Municipalities can receive up to three individual grants, not including regional or joint applications.
Of the 39 communities that received grants in the previous round announced September 10, the largest award of $291,237.50 went to Braintree to update crosswalks, construct ADA-compliant ramps, and install signage and flashing safety beacons at four elementary schools and two middle schools. Other large grants went to Uxbridge ($241,875), Newburyport ($244,912), Framingham ($266,250), Dedham ($285,915) and Shirley ($200,000).
Because it is an emergency-response program, grantees are expected to implement the funded changes – or at least most of them – by October 9. Applications for projects that could be implemented quickly, projects in designated Environmental Justice areas, and projects that show potential to be made permanent received preference. More information is available on MassDOT’s Shared Streets & Spaces page
Types of projects for the Shared Streets and Spaces grant program may include:
• Supporting increased rates of walking and/or biking by increasing safety and enabling social distancing.
• Outdoor Dining and Commerce: calming roadways, modifying sidewalks and streets, and/or repurposing on- or off-street parking to better support curbside/sidewalk/street retail and dining.
• Better Buses: supporting safer and more reliable bus transit, including expanded bus stops and lanes dedicated for bus travel, (extra scoring credit will be granted for dedicated bus lanes).
• Safe Routes to School: creating safe routes to schools and other programs for children and youth, including safer walking and biking networks with lowered vehicle speeds.
Communities that miss the Shared Streets & Spaces program can turn their attention to the Complete Streets grant program.