Shared Street grants to boost pedestrian, road safety in area towns

Staff Writer
Published: 8/4/2022 4:15:03 PM

HATFIELD — Nearly a dozen local communities and seven regional transit authorities have received a share of $16.4 million in the latest round of the state’s Shared Streets and Spaces Program.

“We’ve been proud to award a total of $50 million in grant funding to cities and towns to facilitate 494 projects since launching Shared Streets and Spaces during the COVID-19 pandemic in June of 2020,” Lt. Governor Karyn Polito said in a statement. “We are pleased to partner with local leaders to create safer and more connected cities and towns.”

The latest funding places emphasis on projects to reduce vehicle speeds to improve safety, as well as projects to purchase equipment to improve and maintain transportation infrastructure. This round of grants also is the largest since the the program was launched.

“With speeding and speeding-related crashes becoming more and more prevalent as we emerge from the pandemic, safety and driving at appropriate speeds has never been so important,” Transportation Secretary and Shared Streets CEO Jamey Tesler said in a statement. “Many of the projects funded in this grant round will make our streets safer for everyone, whether they are walking, bicycling, taking public transportation or driving.”

The grants under the program are as small as $5,000 and as large as $500,000.

Local communities that received grants this round included Cummington, Chesterfield, Belchertown, Goshen, Holyoke, Hatfield, South Hadley, Westhampton, Northampton and Williamsburg. In all, 138 municipalities received funding through the program.

Easthampton received $200,000 to create a raised crossing for the Manhan Rail Trail over Payson Avenue, among other improvements, while the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority received $490,394 to improve bus stops at 15 locations. Holyoke was another $200,000 awardee with a grant to install raised crosswalks along with rectangular rapid flashing beacons at three locations.

Easthampton also received a grant for $50,000 for snow removal equipment for bicycle and pedestrian facilities, as did South Hadley. Cummington also received two grants this round: $31,802 for crosswalk upgrades and $19,729 for speed feedback/messaging signs.

Bera Dunau can be reached at bdunau@gazettenet.com.
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