Priority bus lane project in the city of Everett. (Photo courtesy BostonBRT)

Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito joined Acting Transportation Secretary Jamey Tesler and Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver in Dedham yesterday to announce the award of $6.5 million to 77 cities and towns and one transit agency under the Shared Streets and Spaces Grant Program.

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.

The Shared Streets and Spaces Program has now awarded $33 million to 183 cities and towns and four transit agencies for a total of 310 projects since the competitive grants were offered to municipalities 13 months ago, according to the administration.

For this round of awards, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation reports that it 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 the MBTA — and 51% of the awards are going to designated Environmental Justice Communities. In this round, 28% of the awardees have never received a Shared Streets and Spaces award before.

The administration has posted a list of grant recipients for this funding round, which falls under the Shared Winter Streets and Spaces program.

Shared Winter Streets and Spaces was launched late in 2020 for municipalities to continue making accommodations for the public during the cold winter months. The program provides grants as small as $5,000 and as large as $500,000 for municipalities to quickly launch changes for safer walking, biking, public transit, recreation, commerce, and civic activities. These changes can be intentionally temporary or can be permanent improvements. The MassDOT is particularly focused on projects that respond to the needs of communities and provide safe mobility for children, for elders, to public transportation, and to open space and parks.

The next round of funding applications is anticipated to be launched in fall 2021, and information will be available on the website for the Shared Streets and Spaces Municipal Grant Program.