Northborough receives state grant to improve pedestrian safety
By Liz Nolan, Contributing editor
NORTH-OUGH – Department of Public Works (DPW) director Scott Charpentier announced at a Selectmen board meeting on April 12 that $ 59,609 has been allocated to Northborough to improve pedestrian safety. It’s the first time that Massachusetts Department of Transportation Streets and Shared Winter Spaces Grant was offered. Each municipality can only receive one award in accordance with the program guidelines.
Northborough will use the majority of its funding to improve pedestrian safety in high traffic areas near the city’s recreation facilities. Specific improvements will be made to the crosswalks at South Street and Davis Avenue, South Street to Longfellow Road, South Street to Gale Street and East Main Street between Memorial Field and Casey Field.
The aim of the project, as stated in the city’s Feb. 11 grant application announcement, is to improve safety and visibility in these areas. These areas have access to recreational facilities, which are often used by students, seniors and other residents. In addition, access for pedestrians and cyclists is favored.
Rectangular, solar-powered, pedestrian-activated fast-flashing beacons, additional signage and new wheelchair ramps will be installed.
In addition, the funding will also cover the expenses of two bike racks at Ellsworth-McAfee Park and one each at Casey Field and Memorial Field.
“I am very pleased that through this MassDOT grant program we are able to provide crosswalk safety improvements for our community’s recreation facilities,” Charpentier said when contacted for comment.
However, this grant has a component of timely spending.
“Everything has to be spent by May 31 and we have to comply with government procurement law, which usually does not comply with quick deadlines,” Charpentier said on April 12.
Anticipating this challenge, he said he solicited bids for the required materials prior to award. Now that the grant award has been confirmed, the process can move quickly.
Additionally, DPW staff will do much of the installation as another way to speed up the construction schedule.
Charpentier is delighted to be able to respond to some of the citizens’ safety concerns following the granting of the grant.
“It’s a good project; It’s necessary; it will be a wonderful addition to the city, “he said on April 12.” We are eager to implement some security measures that have been expressed by citizens, and we have been able to find a funding mechanism for get there. “