MassDOT Grant Funds Watertown Bluebike Station, Other Improvements

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Town of Watertown

The Bluebikes station in Coolidge Square in East Watertown.

A Bluebike station in Watertown Square was paid for by a state grant.

Watertown received a grant from the Mass. Department of Transportation to build a Bluebike station in Watertown Square and make other road and sidewalk improvements.

The $280,218 grant was part of the third round of the Baker-Polito Administration’s Shared Winter Streets and Spaces program. The bike share station is next to the entrance to the Charles River Path in Watertown Square. The project also includes flashing pedestrian safety beacons, curb extensions and ADA-complaint ramps at intersections in the Bemis neighborhood.

See the MassDOT announcement below:

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is announcing the award of $3,236,762.78 in the third round of funding from the Baker-Polito Administration’s Shared Winter Streets and Spaces program. The program, which was launched on November 10, provides technical and funding assistance to help Massachusetts cities and towns conceive, design, and implement tactical changes to curbs, streets, and parking areas in support of public health, safe mobility, and renewed commerce, with a special focus on the particular challenges of winter.

The awards made today will support 21 projects in 21 municipalities, of which 43% are designated Environmental Justice communities and 76% are considered high-risk for COVID-19 infections.  Additionally, 62% of today’s winners have never received a Shared Streets and Spaces award before.

Together with Shared Winter Streets and Spaces grants made in December, the Commonwealth has invested $8 million in municipal Shared Streets projects so far. A total of $10 million has been allocated for this program.

The Shared Winter Streets and Spaces 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 improvements can be intentionally temporary or can be pilots of potentially permanent changes.  MassDOT is particularly focused on projects that respond to the current public health crisis and provide safe mobility for children, for senior citizens, to public transportation, and to open space and parks.

The list of cities and towns awarded Shared Winter Streets and Spaces grants in this funding round are:

  • Boston received $197,856 to install four new Bluebike stations in the neighborhoods of Roslindale, Mattapan, and Dorchester.
  • Burlington received $270,845.89 to extend 1,500 feet of new concrete sidewalk with granite curb along Terrace Hall Avenue near Middlesex Turnpike to Lord Baron Drive.
  • Danvers received $58,068.04 to reimagine Danvers Square by allowing recreation, dining, and socially distant gathering spaces within the Town Center, with a hope to eventually make the installation permanent.
  • Dedham received $40,000 to reinstall three temporary, ADA-compliant outdoor seating locations in Dedham Square, including safety barriers, through the removal of existing on-street parking.  This is a reinstallation of facilities successfully piloted in 2020.
  • Easthampton received $16,180 to transform a municipal parking lot into an outdoor performance venue called, “The Downtown Stage.”  Established in collaboration with Easthampton City Arts, this effort builds upon a successful pilot held during the Autumn of 2020.
  • Everett received $107,238.60 to add three new Bluebike stations to Everett’s existing 11-station network.  The new stations will connect the Wellington MBTA station to the rest of the Everett bikeshare system, provide additional coverage on the west side of Everett, and make connections to the Revere and Chelsea bikeshare systems and to the MBTA Silver Line and Commuter Rail station on Everett Avenue.
  • Grafton received $300,000 to construct a new sidewalk on Milford Road, in order to provide pedestrians a safe walking route away from a heavily traveled street.
  • Hamilton received $64,800 to install safe new facilities for cyclists, including a bike lane to connect to the downtown area, and new electrical outlets to support placemaking, food trucks, lighting, and festivals.
  • Holbrook received $93,500 to add a new bicycle lane, ADA-compliant sidewalk ramps, and crosswalks along South Franklin Street between the intersection of Snell Street/Norfolk Road and King Road.
  • Hudson received $285,746.49 to construct a new accessible, lighted Riverwalk along the Assabet River with amenities including benches, picnic tables, trash receptacles, and educational signage.
  • Hull received $29,000 to relocate parking, install more outdoor seating for restaurants, and upgrade sidewalks, crosswalks, and walkways to be ADA-compliant.
  • Leicester received $134,101 to expand the ADA-compliant sidewalk network connecting Towtaid Park to its surrounding neighborhoods, and install new benches and bicycle racks.
  • Oak Bluffs received $210,000 to improve an existing bus stop to include an improved shade feature and to construct new ADA-compliant sidewalks, with lighting, around the Martha’s Vineyard Skate Park and connected to existing paved walking paths and the campuses of the YMCA, Ice Arena, Martha’s Vineyard Community Services, Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School, and housing.
  • Paxton received $22,835.76 to install solar-powered pedestrian-oriented safety signs. 
  • Salem received $200,000 to install eight Bluebike stations with 50 total bicycles for use to connect key transit nodes and residential neighborhoods with Salem’s commercial, cultural, and educational destinations.
  • Southborough received $290,000 to support the implementation of a new, “Southborough History Walk,” to include the construction of new sidewalks on Marlboro Road (Route 85) and St. Marks Street, a new plaza/gathering area adjacent to the Public Library, and paths around the Old Burial Ground.
  • Southbridge received $230,950 to install new pedestrian-oriented safety signage and flashing beacons at existing crosswalks and convert a new pedestrian plaza into a permanent community space for programming and an outdoor market.
  • Stockbridge received $15,750 to acquire up to 15 propane heaters to support cold-weather outdoor dining.
  • Tyngsborough received $135,173 to convert unused municipally-owned land into an ADA-accessible park for outdoor activities and winter community programming. The revitalized space will include seating areas, accessible walkways, and expanded room for safe outdoor programming. The project will also connect the historic Littlefield Library with the Old Town Hall, First Parish Meeting House, and two restaurants.
  • Watertown received $280,318 to add a new Bluebike station at an access point to the Charles River Greenway just south of Watertown Square, and also install curb extensions, flashing pedestrian safety beacons, tighter turns, and ADA-compliant ramps at three consecutive intersections in the Bemis neighborhood.
  • West Bridgewater received $254,400 to construct a new sidewalk linking the center of West Bridgewater to the historic War Memorial Park, including a midblock crossing with flashing safety beacons and the conversion of a portion of Arch Street (currently closed) into a small pedestrian mall linking the Town Park to the War Memorial Park Dam just upstream of Arch Street.

Types of eligible projects under the Shared Winter Streets and Spaces grant program include:

  • Main Streets: Investments in local downtowns and villages that repurpose streets, plazas, sidewalks, curbs, and parking areas to facilitate outdoor activities and winter programming, including but not limited to facilities for eating, shopping, play, and community events and spaces for all ages.  Grant Limit: up to $300,000
  • Reimagined Streets: Creation of safe spaces for people walking and biking by implementing low-speed streets, ‘shared streets,’ new sidewalks, new protected bike lanes, new off-road trails, new bicycle parking, new crosswalks, new traffic-calming measures, and new ADA-compliant ramps.  Grant Limit: Up to $300,000
  • Better Buses: Establishment of new facilities for public buses, including but not limited to dedicated bus lanes, traffic-signal priority equipment, and bus shelters.  Grant Limit: Up to $500,000
  • Shared Mobility: Support for the capital costs of equipment for new bikeshare and micromobility programs.  Grant Limit: Up to $200,000
  • Making Pilots Permanent: Conversion of temporary Shared Streets and Spaces projects to permanent facilities.  Grant Limit: Up to $300,000 

Applications are being accepted on a rolling basis, and decisions will be made in four rounds.  Applications need to be submitted by:

  • February 26th for consideration and award by March 26th

Project completion and spending deadline for all four rounds is May 31, 2021.

Applications will be given preference if they include elements for children and youth, for seniors, for accessing public transit, and for accessing public parks and other open space.  Applications from municipalities that are identified as Environmental Justice communities will also be given preference, as will municipalities in which the median income of all residents is lower than the statewide median income.  Lastly, communities identified as at high risk for COVID-19 transmission will also be given preference.

Applicant municipalities are encouraged to engage the public in the development of Shared Streets and Spaces project ideas.  

The Shared Streets and Spaces Program was established in June 2020 and was immediately popular with Massachusetts cities and towns.  Through the program, the Baker-Polito Administration provided grants from $5,000 to $300,000 for quick-build improvements to sidewalks, curbs, streets, on-street parking spaces, and off-street parking lots in support of public health, safe mobility, and renewed commerce during the COVID-19 period.

Over 100 days, $10.2 million was allocated to 103 municipalities to implement 123 projects, from pop-up bikes lanes to safe ‘parklets’ for outdoor dining to improved crosswalks to dedicated bus lanes, as well as a range of traffic calming measures.

$10 million has been allocated for this phase of the program, which has a focuses on the particular challenges of winter.

Information about the Shared Streets and Spaces Municipal Grant Program, including information about how municipalities can access free technical assistance, can be found at

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