Shrewsbury receives $63,000 grant to enhance pedestrian accessibility and safety

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By Melanie Petrucci, Senior Community Reporter

Shrewsbury – Construction is to begin any day on two new crosswalks and ADA accessible ramps that will be constructed on Maple Avenue at Gage Lane and Brightside Avenue.

Shrewsbury was recently awarded a MassDOT Shared Streets and Spaces grant in the amount of $63,514.87. The funding’s intent is to “support projects that promote public health, safe mobility, and renewed commerce by quickly providing new or repurposed space for socially distanced walking, bicycling, dining, retail and bus travel.”

Explained Assistant Town Manager Kristen D. Las: “The state issued a grant program in June, I think, to create safer spaces throughout our municipalities really related to the pandemic when people started getting out more and restaurants were opening with outdoor dining and more pedestrian and bicycle accommodations were needed. 

“The Town of Shrewsbury took this opportunity to apply for the grant funding to construct two crosswalks on Maple Avenue,” she added. “We had been planning these crosswalks for over a year now in the vicinity of Town Hall.”

The approved project will “enhance the walkability and safety in this area of Shrewsbury” which will have a positive impact on the Town Center and the Municipal Campus (Senior Center, Police Station and Town Hall) as well as municipal playing fields.  

As such, it will provide safer access to the seasonal farmers’ market and weekly food truck event and other municipal events. The area is also adjacent to several schools.   

Las shared that the state encouraged the town to also apply for other beneficial street safety accommodations, including two flashing pedestrian beacons and two bicycle racks that will be installed at Town Hall and the Senior Center. The flashing pedestrian beacons will be installed on Maple Avenue at Fiske Street and Wesleyan Terrace.

“The Shared Streets and Spaces grant required that construction be completed by Oct. 8 for temporary projects such as barriers for outdoor dining. Since this is a permanent solution, they did give us additional timing to construct the project,” Las noted.

“It’s a great opportunity for more pedestrian accommodations linking to the Town Center area, our Municipal Campus, the schools and to really build upon that to provide for more pedestrian accommodations and safer conditions along Maple Avenue,” she added.  

For more information about this project, contact Las at [email protected]