Age-Friendly Funding Alert: MassDOT Announces New Round of ‘Shared Streets and Spaces’ Grant Program

MassDOT has announced a new round of the Shared Streets and Spaces Grant Program, which is now open for applications. All municipalities and transit authorities in the Commonwealth are eligible to apply.

The Massachusetts Healthy Aging Collaborative is pleased that MassDOT has maintained bonus points for proposals that include and consider older adults.

Building on the success of the Shared Streets and Spaces Municipal Grant Program first launched during the summer of 2020 — and later extended to address the particular challenges of winter — the Massachusetts Department of Transportation is announcing a new phase of the program to help communities gear up for summer amid the ongoing public health crisis. In light of recent increases in speeding-related crashes and fatalities, this new phase of the program will have an additional emphasis on safety, and is looking to fund projects that improve safety for all road users through interventions that achieve safer conditions and safer speeds.

The new phase will operate similarly to previous iterations of the Shared Streets and Spaces Program by supporting municipalities and transit authorities to improve plazas, sidewalks, curbs, streets, bus stops, parking areas, and other public spaces in support of public health, safe mobility, and renewed commerce. Bonus points will be awarded to projects seeking to address an identified safety concern through measures such as street reconfigurations and traffic calming. Bonus points will also be awarded to projects with the following features:

  • Environmental Justice communities. An additional bonus point will be awarded to projects that are situated in Census Blocks in which the area median household income is below the statewide median household income
  • Municipalities designated as a COVID-19 ‘higher risk (red) community’ at the time of application (check status here)
  • Cities and towns that have not previously received a Shared Streets and Spaces grant in either summer or winter cycles
  • Proposed projects with a budget of $50,000 or less
  • Quick-build projects that can be implemented by September 7, 2021
  • Projects that are proximate to schools, senior centers, transit and transit connections, and open space and parks

Shared Streets and Spaces will provide cities and towns with grants as small as $5,000 and as large as $200,000. Please note the maximum amount that can be requested is lower than previous iterations of Shared Streets and Spaces. Better Bus projects that provide new facilities for public buses may receive up to $500,000. All Commonwealth municipalities and public transit authorities — including those that have received Shared Streets and Spaces grants in previous rounds — are eligible to apply.

Applications will be accepted until Friday, May 21st. Award notifications will be made by June 25th.

Please visit the Shared Streets and Spaces Grant Program website for more information on eligible project types and how to apply. Please send any questions to sharedstreets@dot.state.ma.us.

For examples of previously funded Shared Streets and Spaces projects, please visit the MassDOT Google Photo Drive or the Metropolitan Area Planning Council Flickr page for photos of successfully implemented projects. We also encourage applicants to refer to the Award Announcements page on the Shared Streets and Spaces Program website for descriptions of previously funded projects. Prospective applicants may also be interested in viewing the Shared Streets and Spaces resource library for case studies and other evaluation materials.

The Shared Streets and Spaces Program was established in June 2020 and was immediately popular with Massachusetts cities and towns. The program was then relaunched in November 2020 to help municipalities address the particular challenges of winter amid the ongoing public health crisis. Since it began, the Shared Streets and Spaces Grant Program has awarded a total of $26.4 million dollars to 161 municipalities and four transit authorities to implement 232 projects. Grant-funded projects have ranged from dedicated bus and bike lanes to seasonal parklets, road diets, safer crosswalks, and new bike share stations.