Over the summer, the Town of Bedford was awarded $62,666 in Shared Streets grant funding from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) to support projects that promote public health, safe mobility, and renewed commerce.
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted some existing needs and has created new ones, and these projects are intended to maximize opportunities for residents and visitors alike to take advantage of our Town resources including enhanced outdoor dining and other commercial, recreational, biking, and pedestrian facilities while supporting the recovery efforts of local businesses.
This update describes the changes that have been made possible by this grant, in collaboration with several Town Departments, committees, and business partners.
As part of this initiative, The Town of Bedford has installed a temporary parklet at the intersection of The Great Road and Fletcher Road.
A parklet is an extension of the sidewalk, often over an on-street parking space, that serves to use the space in a new way, such as a small public park.
The goal of a parklet is to create an area for people to gather and relax in an outdoor space that is open and accessible to all.
Planners refer to this as “placemaking”.
In addition to the installed parklet structure, you will see pop-up public gathering spaces at the Bedford Marketplace and on the Town Common, with a variety of tables, chairs, and lawn games, along with hand sanitizing stations, all intended to create social hubs and expand opportunities for people to safely enjoy outdoor spaces in our community.
Local businesses, proximal to the installed structures and seating, were included in the process and it is anticipated that they will see increased business as residents and visitors have more outdoor seating and recreational options around Town.
These efforts are intended to provide immediate pandemic recovery assistance, as well as long-term improvements strengthening and enlivening our utilization of our streets and public spaces.
The parklet and the pop-up gathering spaces, tables, chairs, and lawn games are already being enjoyed by our residents and visitors to nearby businesses.
These features will remain available for use as long as the season allows, stored for the winter, and, if successful, will be reinstalled next Spring.
These grant funds will also support the following projects in Bedford
- A new touch-free pedestrian signal near the Narrow Gauge Rail Trail at Pine Hill Road, and one on Concord Road near Davis School;
- The provision of temporary infrastructure to the Lane School neighborhood to promote and expand our Safe Routes to School program including safe walking and biking lanes and traffic calming measures; and
- A covered bike rack at John Glenn Middle School
To learn more about . . .
- The Safe Streets program and see other communities’ projects, visit blog.mass.gov/transportation/uncategorized/massdot-announces-1-3-million-in-shared-streets-spaces-program- funding-awards/
- Recovery initiatives for Bedford businesses, visit www.bedfordma.gov/economic-development/pages/covid-19-resources-for-businesses
- Active Transportation Programming in Bedford, visit www.bedfordma.gov/about-healthy-bedford/pages/a-history-of-healthy-bedford
- Safe Routes to School, visit www.mass.gov/safe-routes-to-school
- Parklets, visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parklet