New Funding Round for Shared Streets and Spaces Program

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BOSTON — The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), on behalf of the Baker-Polito Administration, and in partnership with the Barr Foundation, announced applications are now being accepted from municipalities and Regional Transit Authorities (RTA) for the Shared Streets and Spaces Program. 
Since the program’s start in June of 2020, a total of $33 million dollars in grant funding has been provided to Massachusetts cities and towns to facilitate 310 projects. 
Building on the success of the program first launched as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the program continues to be a funding source for communities as they address ongoing challenges and seek to improve their transportation infrastructure. The grant funding is available to help municipalities and RTAs conceive, design, and execute improvements to sidewalks, curbs, streets, plazas, and parking areas in support of public health, safe mobility, and renewed commerce.
While multiple project types are eligible for Shared Streets and Spaces funding, this funding round will be placing particular emphasis on a specific type of roadway project: the management of vehicular speeds through design interventions. 
"Speed management" involves making targeted changes to streets, using identified safety measures, in order to reduce crashes and the severity of crashes through safer and more consistent vehicle speeds. 
Types of eligible projects include:
Speed Management – Making streets safer for all users by reducing vehicle speeds. Projects must propose appropriate interventions to address identified speed issues. Grant limit: up to $200,000.
Bicycle and Pedestrian Infrastructure – Making biking and walking a safe, comfortable, and convenient option for everyday trips. Grant limit: up to $200,000.
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 $100,000.
Transit Supportive Infrastructure: 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.
Equipment Only: Applications requesting funds solely for the purchase of eligible equipment. Grant limit: up to $50,000.
Applications must be submitted to MassDOT by using the program’s online form by March 1, 2022. The project implementation deadline for awarded communities and RTAs is June 30, 2023.
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. 
Applicant municipalities are encouraged to engage the public in the development of Shared Streets and Spaces project ideas.
The Barr Foundation is continuing its partnership with MassDOT to provide pro bono Technical Assistance to any interested municipality looking to apply for Shared Streets and Spaces funding. 
Information about the Shared Streets and Spaces Program, including information about the upcoming funding round, can be found at

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BEAT: Conserving Flowers and their Pollinators

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Joan Edwards will speak at the May Pittsfield Green Drinks event on Tuesday, May 17th at 6:00 PM and give a slideshow presentation about the rapidly decreasing biodiversity that is taking place globally, known as the sixth extinction. 
She will specifically focus on flowers and their insect visitors. 
This sixth extinction is primarily driven by human actions, from habitat loss to climate change. The impacts of biodiversity loss are far-reaching, resulting in biological communities that are less resilient and with diminished ecosystems services. As part of the discussion, Joan will explore the impact of biodiversity loss in the pollinator-flower world and examine how the surprising dynamics of flower-pollinator networks can help to conserve both flowers and their pollinators.
Joan Edwards is a botanist interested in understanding the biomechanics and adaptive significance of ultra-fast plant movements—plant actions that are so quick they occur in milliseconds. Using high-speed video (up to 100,000 fps), she studies the evolutionary significance and biomechanics of fast movements, including the trebuchet catapults of bunchberry dogwood, the vortex rings of Sphagnum moss, the splash cups of liverworts, and the "poppers" of wood sorrel. Her early fieldwork was on the impact of moose on plants in the boreal forests of Isle Royale National Park. 
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