Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito today joined Acting Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver, members of the Massachusetts Legislature, and officials from the Town of Natick at a groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the start of Natick’s $385,584 multimodal improvement project through the Baker-Polito Administration’s Complete Street Funding Program. The project includes improvements to 14 different intersections and the installation of pedestrian hybrid beacons, high visibility crosswalks, pedestrian warning signage, and upgraded pedestrian signal and bicycle detection equipment to increase safety and accessibility for pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists.
“We are pleased to collaborate with cities and towns like Natick to invest in local infrastructure needs and allow people to better get where they need to go,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “By empowering municipalities with resources to upgrade their sidewalks, intersections, and roads, we can ensure people across our Commonwealth are able to use their preferred mode of transit to safely and efficiently reach their jobs, homes, friends and families.”
“We are proud to see construction beginning on this important project to increase accessibility and reliability for people walking, bicycling, or using alternative transportation methods throughout Natick,” said Lieutenant Governor Polito. “These types of multimodal improvements that invest in new crosswalks, bicycle accommodations, and street signals are important steps to increasing connectivity within our cities and towns and improving our quality of life.”
Since 2016, the Baker-Polito Administration has awarded approximately $10 million to 26 communities across Massachusetts to assist in building “Complete Streets” infrastructure in addition to awarding approximately $2.7 million in technical assistance grants and working closely with municipalities in promoting smart designs to make streets safe for pedestrians, cyclists, transit users and drivers.
“MassDOT is continuing to work hand in hand with towns such as Natick in order to provide them with the opportunity to improve their roadways for everyone, whether they are walking, bicycling, riding public transit, or driving,” said Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack. “We appreciate the hard work by all those who are involved in the Complete Streets program and our state and local partners who are continuing to integrate ‘Complete Streets’ design principles into our transportation systems.”
“Building Complete Streets is an important step towards increasing safety and accessibility, promoting better connectivity throughout our neighborhoods, decreasing traffic congestion, and improving our quality of life,”said Acting Highway Administrator Gulliver. “We are pleased that the Town of Natick is breaking ground on this project and look forward to residents and commuters throughout this community having a safer and easier time bicycling, walking, and driving through these intersections.”
Under the MassDOT Complete Streets Funding Program, to date, 161 municipalities have registered to participate, 129 cities and towns have approved complete streets policies and 60 have approved Prioritization Plans. MassDOT has engaged city and town officials in workshops about complete streets infrastructure design and has developed a full Complete Streets Funding Program Guidance document that explains the program requirements, model policy guidance and scoring system, and eligible infrastructure. A two-way interactive online portal has been developed to guide and assist municipalities through the Policy Development, Prioritization Plan and Project Approval Tiers of the program.
“The Town of Natick is pleased to participate in the Complete Streets program to help promote safety and convenience for everyone using our streets, bike paths and walkways,” said Chair of the Natick Board of Selectman Josh Freedman. “The fourteen pedestrian crossings that will be improved in this Complete Streets grant award will benefit many people, and behalf of the Board of Selectmen, we thank the Baker-Polito Administration, MassDOT, the Town staff and volunteers who have spearheaded this effort, and the legislature for its support for this program.”
Safe, accessible streets and an efficient transportation system are keys for quality of life in our communities,”said Senator Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland). “This Complete Streets grant supports Natick’s ongoing efforts to improve transportation options for cyclists, pedestrians and drivers.”
“I am pleased at the Town of Natick’s continued commitment to safe, healthy, and environmentally friendly transportation options, and I am happy that I was able to provide the funds to the Department of Transportation for this project,” said Representative David Linsky (D-Natick). “The funds from the Complete Streets Grant will allow Natick to make updates that will be both safe and efficient for all users.”
The Complete Streets Program is among several programs in which MassDOT partners with cities and towns on infrastructure improvements. The Baker-Polito Administration’s Small Bridge Program, which was announced in 2016, has awarded a total of $16 million dollars to 36 communities to repair or replace small bridges which are not eligible for federal funding. $50 million so far has been authorized for the Small Bridge Program.
Meanwhile, since 2015, Complete Streets funding awards have been used to fund local, multi-modal infrastructure improvement projects, as identified in each municipality’s submitted Complete Streets Prioritization Plan. Examples of projects that can be addressed through the program include improved or new separated bike lanes, sidewalks, curb ramps, and traffic signals that prioritize transit, crosswalks, and improved lighting.