Several Western Mass communities receive funding from Shared Streets & Spaces Program

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BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP)–The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) has awarded more than $1.3 million for multiple projects across the state as part of the Shared Streets & Spaces program. 

The program provides technical and funding assistance to help Massachusetts communities 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. This most recent round of funding will provide $1.3 million to projects in 17 municipalities, of which 64% are Environmental Justice communities.

The quick-build grant program provides grants as small as $5,000 and as large as $300,000 for municipalities to quickly launch changes to sidewalks, curbs, streets, on-street parking spaces and off-street parking lots in support of public health, safe mobility – including safe walking and biking to schools – and renewed commerce. Types of projects may include:

  • Shared Streets and Spaces: 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.

Below are the western Massachusetts projects receiving funding in this round of awards:

Adams received $22,500 
to fund the installation of tables, chairs, umbrellas, dividers, and hand-sanitizer stations at two central locations: (1) Armory Court, recently renovated as an open plaza, and (2) near the Adams Visitors Center, which is located adjacent to the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail.  All tables will be open for use by anyone, and the Town will provide historic and tourist information.

Dalton received $70,441 to install solar-powered flashing safety beacons and new crosswalk markings on Main Street to improve pedestrian safety at the two pedestrian crossings at River Street and Depot Street, proximate to a school, senior housing, low-income housing, recreational fields, and a bus stop.

Great Barrington received $69,955 to erect temporary barriers and signage to create a shared street on Railroad Street in downtown Great Barrington. The project will eliminate all on-street parking in favor of space for outdoor dining and entertainment in the street, which will in turn allow room on the sidewalks for retail racks and additional dining.

Lenox received $29,989 to convert on- and off-street parking into outdoor dining areas, to include the pilot of traffic calming measures such as speed humps and new signage.

Montague received $35,300 to support (1) a temporary (painted) pedestrian sidewalk with refuge islands/curb extensions, (2) an improved crosswalk connecting Unity Park to the adjacent footpath, including solar-powered speed feedback signs to slow traffic, (3) temporary bumpouts at the 3rd and L Street intersection to calm traffic, and (4) a traffic calming ‘gateway’ using temporary curbs, planters, paint, and barriers.

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