Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito announces $16.4 million for 184 new awards to 138 municipalities and seven Regional Transit Authorities through the Shared Streets and Spaces Program in Plymouth on Aug. 2. (Photo courtesy Joshua Qualls/Governor’s Press Office)

On Aug. 2 in Plymouth, the Baker-Polito administration announced $16.4 million in grants to 138 municipalities and seven regional transit authorities through the Shared Streets and Spaces program.

The largest award round since the program’s launch in June 2020 will be used by recipients to implement projects that focus on improving safety for walking, biking, public transit, recreation, commerce and civic activities.

This round of funding prioritized projects that would improve safety by reducing vehicle speeds and projects that include the purchase of equipment necessary to improve and maintain transportation infrastructure for active use.

Shared Streets and Spaces, administered by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, provides grants ranging from $5,000 to $500,000 to municipalities and transit authorities to implement temporary or permanent changes to streets that help to ensure safety for all users. So far, the program has awarded more than $50 million to facilitate 494 projects.

Communities have used the funding to create new spaces for outdoor dining, create new walking paths, and improve connectivity within their communities, among other uses.

At the press event in Plymouth, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito reflected on the evolution and growth of Shared Streets and Spaces, saying it now “feels permanent to me … and that is a good thing.”

Polito credited municipal officials and business owners for their ideas to use outdoor spaces to encourage community engagement as communities focused on reopening following COVID-19 restrictions. She said many of these adaptations of outdoor spaces “have become a permanent feature for many communities.”

Transportation Secretary Jamey Tesler said Shared Streets and Spaces “allows each community … to use their spaces their way.”

“It’s intended to really unleash the innovation and ideas of our communities, and intended to move quickly,” he said.

Shared Streets and Spaces provides technical assistance and funding to support cities and towns to design and implement changes to curbs, streets, and parking areas in support of public health, safe mobility, and community growth and revitalization.

Of this year’s awarded municipalities, 53% are designated Environmental Justice communities and 31% are first-time recipients of a Shared Streets and Spaces grant.

View the list of the awardees and project summaries

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