In November, 2020, MassDOT announced new funding is available for municipalities via the “Shared Winter Streets and Spaces” program. Applications were accepted for this new phase in the Baker-Polito administration’s Shared Streets and Spaces Program, which was initially launched this past June. Up to $10 million in funds could be used for quick-build improvements to sidewalks, curbs, streets, and parking areas in support of safe walking, biking, and community activities during the winter to address related needs resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. These improvements can be intentionally temporary, in the style of tactical urbanism, or can be pilots of potentially permanent changes to streets and sidewalks.
BETA has assisted several MA municipalities in the preparation of the first round of applications which have been accepted and approved by MassDOT to receive funding. We have the experience, team, and vision to identify areas of opportunity within a city or town. We then position them to align the benefits of the project with the goals of the Shared Streets and Spaces program, resulting in a better likelihood of approval and acceptance into the program.
One recent example was a submittal for 336 Boston Post Road in Wayland, MA. This streetscape was proposed to be converted into a dining area, with direct connection to the Mass Central Rail Trail/East Coast Greenway. A creates a new multi-use path connection to the businesses on Post Road with the Mass Central Rail Trail/East Coast Greenway, improving local mobility and connectivity to a regional shared bikeway, while also providing safe and functional environments for curb-side dining. BETA assisted the Town in identifying project benefits for all users, project timelines, and anticipated budget. In addition to the grant application, BETA prepared landscape amenities design, graphics/renderings, and presentation materials to support the technical aspect of the application. Ultimately, the project was approved to receive funding and has been fast-tracked for a quick implementation to support the immediate needs of the community.
BETA also recently worked with the Town of Natick, who received $55K through the Shared Streets and Spaces program to create a separated bike/shared-use lane on a segment of Route 30 by making use of the road’s shoulders. This project will increase bicycle and pedestrian accessibility, safety, and connectivity on a major thoroughfare through the Towns of Natick and Wayland, while also serving users of the Cochituate Rail Trail. BETA assisted the Town with developing construction cost estimates, maps, and supplemental illustrations to help the grant application review team visualize the finished project.