Repurposing street space to accommodate
increased walking, biking, dining, and retail
As we begin to reopen and public health guidelines continue to encourage physical distancing, how can municipalities repurpose street space to accommodate increased demand for walking, biking, and outdoor retail?
MAPC is helping our municipalities answer that question. We're eager to support our cities and towns in thinking through ways to repurpose street space to allow for safe walking and biking, more efficient bus service, and expanded outdoor dining and retail options. Here are some ways we can be of help:
- Regional visioning and planning
- Collective procurement of materials
- Coordination and sharing best practices
- Technical assistance at the local level
On this page, find resources and grant opportunities for shared streets initiatives. Please reach out with questions and project ideas!
If you have questions or would like to work with MAPC on shared streets initiatives, reach out to MAPC Transportation Director Eric Bourassa at email@example.com.
Map of Shared Streets and Spaces in the MAPC Region
The City of Amesbury (pop: ~17K) proactively sought to address the challenges of their small businesses due to on-site capacity restrictions implemented by the Commonwealth to protect public health during the COVID-19 pandemic. With most downtown restaurants operating from older brick buildings without outdoor space, the City looked to municipally-owned property to safely serve patrons outside.
A residential shared streets project piloted by the City of Arlington between April 27 and June 1, 2020. The Brooks Avenue Shared Streets pilot was initiated to slow speeds and provide additional space for physical distance on Arlington streets.
This project aimed to rapidly adapt the City of Chelsea’s public art programming to create a safe and accessible means for public expression and processing the community’s trauma during the COVID-19 pandemic, while nurturing and networking local artists.
Design & Procurement Resources
This report highlights the planning, design, and implementation process for three tactical public realm projects managed by A Better City, in addition to a fourth case study describing several pop-up plazas implemented by the City of Boston.
This guide for cities and towns can help create a project that helps people of all ages maintain an ability to exercise, access community assets, and get outside safely.
Guide to statewide contracts that can be used to facilitate shared streets equipment purchases.
List of vendors that offer materials for shared streets and spaces programs. The listed vendors may or may not be under a Massachusetts Statewide Contract administered by the Operational Services Division. Neither the Metropolitan Area Planning Council nor the Massachusetts Department of Transportation endorse any vendor. This list is provided as a convenience and it is not represented to be a complete of all vendors that provide the materials.
Shared Streets Peer Exchange Panel: Looking Back, Looking Forward
In 2020, cities and towns throughout Massachusetts re-imagined their public spaces, converting streets and sidewalks into spaces that would promote active transportation, social distancing, outdoor dining, multimodal transit, and safe exercise.
On January 12, 2021, in partnership with MassDOT and the Solomon Foundation, the Metropolitan Area Planning Council hosted a panel discussion and Q&A on Shared Streets. Municipal representatives reflected on the complex projects they undertook, shared lessons learned, and looked forward to what's next.
- Kate Fichter (moderator), Assistant Secretary for Policy Coordination, MassDOT
- Wayne Feiden, FAICP, Director Planning & Sustainability, Northampton
- Katrina O’Leary, Town Planner, Middleton
- Police Chief Tom Galvin, Berlin
- Ben Cares, Senior Planner and Project Manager, Chelsea
Webinar: Shared Winter Streets and Spaces Grant Program
- Shared Winter Streets and Spaces program overview
- State Contract Guide
- Vendor Guide
- Shared Streets Photo Library
- Edmonton's Winter Design Guidelines
- Bench Consulting's Winter Places Design Guide
- Winter Places Webinars:
Ensuring an Equitable Approach to Rebalancing Streets – Toole Design – February 2021: https://tooledesign.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Ensuring-an-Equitable-Approach-to-Rebalancing-Streets.pdf
Shared Streets and Spaces: Navigating MassDOT's New Grant Program
- For questions about the MassDOT grant program, email firstname.lastname@example.org
- For questions about technical assistance opportunities, please contact one of the providers listed on MassDOT's website or reach out to Lisa Jacobson at email@example.com.
- For questions about purchasing materials off OSD's statewide contracts,
please contact Danielle Frizzi, Director of Marketing, Communications, and Events, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sharing Our Streets
MAPC held a webinar on Thursday, June 4 on how municipalities can create more space for walking, biking, and outdoor retail. Missed it? You can watch the recording below.
Our speakers included:
- Eric Bourassa, MAPC Director of Transportation
- Brad Rawson, City of Somerville Director of Mobility
- Kate Fichter, MassDOT Assistant Secretary for Policy Coordination
- David Loutzenheiser, MAPC Senior Transportation Planner