Lowell Sun: Safe streets for all

LITTLETON — The town is one step closer to creating a sustainable community that offers ample transportation opportunities for people in cars, on bicycles and on foot.

Littleton has received a grant of $43,222 from the Department of Transportation that will help fund Tier 2 of the Compete Streets program, which helps to make streets safe and accessible for everyone.

The funds are for assistance in developing a prioritization plan, which should be completed by Aug. 1, according to Town Administrator Keith Bergman.

Littleton was the first town in the commonwealth to adopt the Complete Streets model.

“It’s really a credit to Keith Bergman and the Littleton Board of Selectmen,” said Sen. Jamie Eldridge, D-Acton.

Eldridge was one of the state senators to champion legislation in 2014 to provide $50 million in funding incentives for Complete Streets.

Tier 2 will plan a strategy to improve safety, mobility and accessibility in the community. There will be a review of transportation in town, including conditions of pedestrian paths, trail networks, community facilities, and the current capital improvement program.

The money came through quickly — the board authorized submission for the grant on March 7, and the funding was awarded on March 11.

MassDOT will complete an audit of accidents in Littleton, with a focus on pedestrian and bicycle crashes.

Littleton got started on the Complete Streets project in 2013.

The town created a Complete Streets Policy with assistance from the Metropolitan Area Planning Council and funding from the Community Transformation Grant program.

In 2014, SmartGrowth America ranked Littleton’s Complete Streets Policy as No. 1 of its kind in the nation.

Having a Complete Streets design will help small towns like Littleton, Eldridge said.

“Having that level of sustainability brings people together,” Eldridge said. “People can be healthier because they’re walking, and along the way, maybe they’re supporting small businesses.”

Later this year, Littleton will apply for a grant for Tier 3 construction funding of up to $400,000.

Follow Melissa Hanson on Twitter and Tout @Melissa__Hanson.


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