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BOSTON – The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), on behalf of the Baker-Polito Administration, and in partnership with the Barr Foundation, is announcing applications are now being taken from municipalities for the Shared Winter Streets and Spaces Program, a new phase in the Administration’s Shared Streets and Spaces Program which was launched this past June.

Shared Streets and Spaces has already provided a total of $10.2 million dollars to 123 projects in 103 Massachusetts cities and towns.  Due to the success of the program, and because municipalities are still in urgent need of support to help manage the impacts of the pandemic during the winter months, Governor Baker recently announced that an additional $10 million total will now be available to municipalities to conceive, design, and execute improvements to sidewalks, curbs, streets, plazas, and parking areas in support of public health, safe mobility, and renewed commerce in light of the COVID-19 epidemic.

Shared Winter Streets and Spaces will be focused on supporting communities during the next several months, when the need for physical distancing poses challenges.  The program will invest in cities and towns in order to facilitate outdoor activities and winter programming by creating safe spaces for people of all ages and abilities to walk, bicycle, eat, shop, play, and enjoy community events.

Types of eligible projects include:

  • Main Streets: Investments in local downtowns and villages that repurpose streets, plazas, sidewalks, curbs, and parking areas to facilitate outdoor activities and winter programming, including, but not limited to, facilities for eating, shopping, play, and community events and spaces for all ages. Grant limit: up to $300,000.
  • Reimagined Streets: Creation of safe spaces for people walking and bicycling by implementing low-speed streets, ‘shared streets,’ new sidewalks, new protected bike lanes, new off-road trails, new bicycle parking, new crosswalks, new traffic-calming measures, and new ADA-compliant ramps. Grant limit: up to $300,000.
  • Better Buses: Establishment of new facilities for public buses, including, but not limited to, dedicated bus lanes, traffic-signal priority equipment, and bus shelters. Grant limit: up to $500,000.
  • Shared Mobility: Support for the capital costs of equipment for new bikeshare and micromobility programs. Grant limit: up to $200,000.
  • Making Pilots Permanent: Conversion of temporary Shared Streets and Spaces projects to permanent facilities. Grant limit: up to $300,000.

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis, and decisions will be made in four rounds.  Applications need to be submitted by:

  • December 4th for consideration and award by December 22nd
  • January 5th for consideration and award by February 2nd
  • January 29th for consideration and award by February 26th
  • February 26th for consideration and award by March 26th

Project completion and spending deadline for all four rounds is May 31, 2021.

Applications will be given preference if they include elements for children and youth, for seniors, for accessing public transit, and for accessing public parks and other open space.

Applications from municipalities that are identified as Environmental Justice communities will also be given preference, as will municipalities in which the median income of all residents is lower than the statewide median income.  Lastly, communities identified as at high risk for COVID-19 transmission will also be given preference.

Applicant municipalities are encouraged to engage the public in the development of Shared Streets and Spaces project ideas.

The Barr Foundation is continuing its partnership with MassDOT to provide pro bono Technical Assistance to any interested municipality looking to apply for Shared Winter Streets and Spaces funding.  This support was a valuable help for many communities during the pandemic and helped to lower barriers to participation and expand access to professional expertise

Information about the Shared Streets and Spaces Program, including information about the new Shared Winter Streets and Spaces funding round, can be found at www.mass.gov/shared-winter-streets-and-spaces-grant-program.

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