This fall the MA Department of Transportation awarded the first implementation grants to 11 Massachusetts municipalities, allowing communities to make some of their local streets and sidewalks safer for pedestrians, bicyclists, and public transit users. The Complete Streets Funding Program awarded $400,000 to each of the municipalities to implement specific of improvements after the community participated in training, adopted a complete streets policy, and created a complete streets prioritization plan. Some of the projects funded by the program include: pedestrian-activated beacons on crosswalks; ADA-compliant curb ramps; bicycle lane sharrows; signal timing improvements; reduced corner radii for increased intersection safety; and bicycle parking at transit stops.
Many more municipalities will be applying for similar grants in 2017 and beyond, thanks to the $50 million that the Baker Administration committed to the Complete Streets Funding Program over the next five years. By making our local roads more “complete” we can help address some of the transportation inequities that impact health. While the analysis is still underway, early indicators suggest that complete street policies and programs are getting underway in communities that need them the most–low-income communities with limited transportation options and communities of color that have been undeserved in the past. The authorizing legislation that established the MA Complete Streets Funding Program–the 2014 Transportation Bond Bill–requires MassDOT to distribute at least one-third of the funds to municipalities below the median household income.
The first 11 recipients of the MA Complete Streets Funding Program:
MPHA led the campaign to create and implement the Complete Streets Funding Program–an effort that began in 2012. Many partners, including those in the Act FRESH coalition (2010-2016), were instrumental in accomplishing this goal.