|Berkshire Communities Receive Shared & Complete Streets Funding|
|11:41AM / Wednesday, July 21, 2021|
|Williamstown is considering transforming a section of Walden Street into a plaza. |
|Adams received $35,000 to further an earlier Shared Streets and Spaces grant by creating a small event space on Park Street to be ADA-accessible and include seating, plantings, and shade structures.|
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Five Berkshire communities have received more than a half-million in state grants this week for streetscape improvements, including a $28,000 grant to Williamstown that could turn a downtown street into a parklet.
Adams, Savoy, Sheffield, and Williamstown received in total $126,300 in funding from the Shared Streets and Spaces to implement traffic safety measures, trail connections, bikeshare stations, bus facilities, and areas for outdoor dining and community activities.
Williamstown is considering closing off the lower portion of Walden Street between Spring Street and the western entrance to the public parking lot and turn it into a pedestrian plaza, to be used for outdoor dining and community events.
Lenox received $398,035 in Complete Streets funding to upgrade existing crosswalks, replace curb ramps, and install new curb extensions, a Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon, and speed feedback signs in various locations near Lenox Memorial Middle/High School.
Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito announced the first round of fiscal 2022 Complete Streets funding of $6.05 million to 18 communities on Tuesday. Lenox was the only Berkshire community to receive this grant.
On Wednesday, she joined other state officials in announcing $6.5 million total to cities and towns that applied for funding from the Shared Streets and Spaces Grant Program.
"The Shared Streets and Spaces Program has now awarded $33 million total to 183 cities and towns since the competitive grants were offered to municipalities 13 months ago," said Gov. Charlie Baker in a press release. "Shared Streets grants kept local economies going and gave the public options for safe travel and activities during the pandemic, helping all of us reimagine how we can share streets and spaces to stay safe and improve the quality of life in our communities."
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.
• Adams received $35,000 to further an earlier Shared Streets and Spaces grant by creating a small event space on Park Street to be ADA-accessible and include seating, plantings, and shade structures.
• Savoy received $38,300 to create a new dropoff zone, new walking surfaces, and directional barriers and signage at Savoy Elementary School.
• Sheffield received $28,000 to create two safer crosswalks serving the Southern Berkshire Regional School District building, which houses pre-K to 12th grade and a nursery program.
For this round of awards, the state Department of Transportation 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 percent of the awards are going to designated Environmental Justice Communities. In this round of funding, 28 percent of the awardees have never received a Shared Streets and Spaces award before.
Since June 2020, including this round of grants, the 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.