Lt. Governor Karyn Polito joined Acting Transportation Secretary and CEO Jamey Tesler and Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver last week to announce the award of $6.5 million total to cities and towns which applied for funding from the Shared Streets and Spaces Grant Program, including several local programs.
The program provides technical and funding assistance to help Massachusetts municipalities conceive, design, and implement changes to curbs, streets, plazas, and parking areas in support of public health, safe mobility, renewed commerce, and community betterment.
“The Governor and I are proud to partner with municipal leaders on funding programs, such as Shared Streets, which help communities grow and thrive,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “Community leaders know each street corner and know each block of their business districts and have been very innovative in thinking about projects and thoughtfully applying for this funding.”
For this round of awards, MassDOT received 94 applications, of which, all but four were eligible. This is the largest applicant pool received in a single round to date. In this round, 78 applications were selected for funding – 77 municipalities and one transit agency (the MBTA) – for a total of $6,506,185.30 in awards and 51% of the awards are going to designated Environmental Justice Communities. In this round of funding, 28% of the awardees have never received a Shared Streets and Spaces award before.
Since June 2020, including this round of grants, the Baker-Polito Administration’s Shared Streets and Spaces Grant Program has awarded $33 million dollars total to 183 municipalities and four transit agencies for a total of 310 projects.
This round of funding is under the Shared Winter Streets and Spaces program launched late in 2020 for municipalities to continue making accommodations for the public during the cold winter months and provides grants as small as $5,000 and as large as $500,000 for municipalities to quickly launch changes for safer walking, biking, public transit, recreation, commerce, and civic activities. These changes can be intentionally temporary or can be permanent improvements. MassDOT is particularly focused on projects that respond to the needs of communities and provide safe mobility for children, for elders, to public transportation, and to open space and parks.
The list of local cities and towns awarded Shared Winter Streets and Spaces grants in this funding round are:
•Chelsea received $40,000.00 to install pedestrian safety improvements on Hawthorne Street, improving walking connections to the Early Learning Center, Chelsea Community Connections, and the downtown central business district.
•Everett received $25,000.00 to install new bicycle racks over approximately 60 blocks of urban commercial streets, including Chelsea Street, Main Street, Hancock Street, and Elm Street.