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Lynn and Peabody were each awarded nearly $400,000 in state funding through the Baker-Polito administration’s Complete Streets Funding Program, which is aimed at making streets safe for all forms of transportation, including pedestrians, bicyclists, transit and vehicles.
Lynn will receive $354,010 for the reconstruction of Central Avenue from Andrew Street to Oxford Street with the reconfiguration of existing ramps, crosswalks, and pedestrian traffic signal equipment.
Traffic signal timing will also be modified, along with the installation of countdown crosswalk signals with audible push buttons, and new “Stop” signs on the approach to crosswalks, according to an announcement from the state Department of Transportation.
Andrew Hall, Lynn’s Department of Public Works (DPW) commissioner, said the project is just a concept at this point. The next step is to hire a consultant to do the design, with hopes that construction starts in the fall.
Hall said the area was chosen because it’s a high crash area, with lots of pedestrian accidents there.
He said Lynn was also awarded funding during the Complete Streets program’s first round, launched in 2016 — the $400,000 was used to reconstruct sidewalks on South Common Street and improve safety crosswalks on O’Callaghan Way at Breed Middle School.
“We’re challenged for resources and that’s paid for by the state so that’s always good, and it’s always good to be safe,” Hall said.
State Rep. Daniel Cahill (D-Lynn) said the funding through the Complete Streets Program is a supplement to the Chapter 90 money the city receives annually from the state for road improvements, which is $1.5 million for fiscal year 2019.
Cahill said the timing couldn’t be better on the funding. He said transportation is a critical issue in the city of Lynn — the city is experimenting with new forms of transportation, but city and state officials have to make sure they continue to invest in sidewalk improvements, pedestrian ramps and traffic signaling.
“I’m very pleased that the city put together a competitive grant application and that we were awarded,” Cahill said.
Complete Streets was authorized by the Legislature through the 2014 transportation bond bill. The Lynn City Council adopted the program a year later and it was subsequently recognized as one of the best in the nation by the Smart Growth America’s National Complete Streets Coalition.
Peabody will receive $399,820 to install a path on Perkins Street from the J. Henry Higgins Middle School to Emerson Park at Fay Avenue. From Fay Avenue to Lowell Street, the existing sidewalks along Perkins Street will be reconstructed and will include Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant wheelchair ramps, according to the Department of Transportation.
Lynn and Peabody were two of the 22 communities awarded approximately $6.4 million by the state through the program this year. To date, 161 municipalities have approved policies and 111 have approved prioritization plans.
A complete street is one that provides safe and accessible options for all travel modes and for all people, taking into account the ages and abilities of individuals. The Baker-Polito administration has now awarded a total of approximately $30 million in construction funding since creating a funding program for complete streets in February 2016, according to the Department of Transportation.
“This popular program is just one of the many ways our administration is partnering with cities and towns to improve their own roadways to increase access to economic opportunities and connectivity throughout local neighborhoods,” said Gov. Charlie Baker in a statement. “We are proud to announce this latest round of award winners to help ensure that local roads and transportation infrastructure provide accommodations for all modes of travel.
Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito said in a statement that the funding “will enable communities across the Commonwealth to carry out projects that install new sidewalks, bicycle lanes, crosswalks, intersections, and other accommodations for people to safely and easily reach the places they need to go.”