On Tuesday, Aug. 20, Mayor Linda Tyer, joined by city officials and community partners, announced that the City of Pittsfield was awarded $353,562 in state funding for its Complete Streets initiatives at a press conference by Springside Avenue and Grove Street. The location is one of 10 sites throughout the city that will benefit from this round of Complete Streets funding.
Complete Streets provide safety, comfort, mobility, and accessibility for all users of streets, which supports a transportation system that allows for safe and efficient travel. The Complete Streets award is a first for the City of Pittsfield and Mayor Tyer praised the team that worked on the grant for its outstanding work to secure funding, an effort which was also recognized by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
“I’m really pleased to be here today with a brilliant team of people who built the policy and the brilliant team of people that submitted the application. This is the very first year that we have received funding for infrastructure projects of this nature. It’s another example how the City of Pittsfield has a strong network that allows us to do more without putting pressure on taxpayers. We couldn’t do it without the members of the Complete Streets committee, Community Development and the work of Councilor Nick Caccamo. It truly is a collaborative effort,” the mayor said.
“What’s great about the award we received is that the maximum amount from the Commonwealth was in the amount of $400,000. We nearly met that maximum requirement for the award. In their letter to us, they noted that our application did very well among a competitive applicant pool, noting that ‘we believe your projects will have a significant impact in your community.’
City Engineer Ricardo Morales, who spearheaded the grant application, reflected on previous work that helped to support the process.
“This achievement was made possible by the stakeholders who formed part of the initial Complete Streets Committee in 2017 chaired by Councilor Caccamo to draft the policy that would eventually lead to adoption into our ordinances for the inclusion of complete streets concepts in all future transportation projects.
This policy directs staff to consistently plan, design, construct, and maintain streets to accommodate all users, regardless of age, ability, or mode of transportation. Every transportation project will make the street network better and safer for pedestrians, bicyclists, transit users and drivers, making our town a better place to live,” Morales said.
This first round of projects is part of an overall prioritized list containing 28 additional projects to be implemented in the next 5 years through the Complete Streets Programs.
Cathy Carchedi, chair of the Commission on Disabilities, acknowledged the advocacy of the commission’s former chair, June Hailer, in facilitating this process.
“She’s really been the spearhead, maintaining a list of curb cuts and sidewalks that’s been of concern for people with all disabilities. We have partnered with the (Complete Streets) committee to maintain an active list of these areas. We are delighted to have some funding available to address some of these concerns. Thank you City of Pittsfield.”
The projects, which are set to begin next spring, are currently under design and will include:
- Replacement of sidewalks on Allen Street
- Installation of accessible ramps and replacement of sidewalks on Fenn and Allen streets; Fenn and Willis streets
- Installation of buffered bike lanes on Wahconah Street
- Installation of a mid-block crossing on Burbank Street with curb extensions and accessible ramps in front of Morningside School
- Reconfiguration of the crossing island at East and Elm streets with the addition of pedestrian signals
- Installation of new accessible ramps with additional crosswalks along multiple intersections of Lincoln Street
- Installation of protected crossing island and accessible ramps at West and Hurlbut streets
- Additional bike lanes on Elm Street to replace sharrows
- Installation of new signal and pedestrian signals with accessible ramps right here on Springside Avenue and Grove Street
- Sidewalk replacement on Union Street