The Mass. Department of Transportation (MassDOT) announced the award of $6.5 million total to cities and towns which applied for funding from the Shared Streets and Spaces Grant Program. Among those are several projects that are inclusive of older adults, thanks to bonus points that encourage applicants to consider improving the built environment around councils on aging, senior housing, and other public spaces.
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.
While many projects benefit people of all ages by improving safety and accessibility, the following awarded projects are specifically geared towards supporting older adults.
- Ashburnham received $29,849.90 to install traffic calming and outdoor dining and rest spaces in front of the Town Hall/Senior Center and at the Stevens Memorial Library/Winchester Park area.
- Holyoke received $73,100.00 to install pedestrian safety beacons to better serve recreational and open spaces, the Senior Center, and multiple schools.
- Orange received $100,871.00 to expand upon the work of a previous Shared Streets and Spaces grant by extending improvements on East Main Street to include new ADA-compliant crosswalks, buffered bicycle lanes, and a shelter for MART riders (complete with a bench and schedule holder). Among other users, the shelter transit stop will serve those visiting the Council on Aging and the Orange Farmers Market.
- Rockland received $184,200.00 to make major improvements to the streets of the downtown area, including better and safer facilities for pedestrians and bicyclists, new bike parking at the local Senior Center, and better connections to the Rockland Rail Trail.
- Southampton received $123,644.00 to construct 900 feet of new sidewalk to improve safety and walkability among key locations, including a school, Town Hall, Senior Center, library, historic church, and town park.
- Wellesley received $34,785.30 to add a flashing pedestrian beacon at the State Street/Fuller Brook Path crosswalk in order to improve safety and comfort for walking to several schools, a Senior Center, and open space.
The full Shared Streets and Spaces award announcement is available here.