Pittsfield wins $354,000 from state for streetside projects

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PITTSFIELD — The city's sidewalks and street markings will get a boost with new help from the state.

For the first time, the city will receive $353,562 through the state's Complete Streets program, which supports cities performing work on sidewalks, signals, bike lanes and other elements intended to make streets safer for all modes of travel.

The money will be used toward work on 10 projects across the city, totaling $503,562. Money through the Community Development Block Grant program will cover the difference, City Engineer Ricardo Morales said.

The city applied for the full $400,000 available to each city through a competitive process under the Complete Streets program.

"We nearly met that maximum amount of award," Mayor Linda Tyer told a small crowd of city staffers and community partners gathered Tuesday at Springside Avenue and Grove Street. She said the amount of money awarded speaks to the strength of the proposal.

"This is another example of how the city of Pittsfield has a strong network that allows us to do more without putting pressure on the taxpayers," she said.

Cathy Carchedi, chairwoman of the Commission on Disabilities, said the money will make headway on the group's list of curb cuts and sidewalks that pose safety concerns for the people it serves.

"We are delighted to finally have some funding available so we can address some of these concerns," she said during the event. "We look forward to more projects in the future."

The concept for the work started with 50 proposed project items, Morales said, and he worked with community partners to pare it down. He said he also tried to spread the money across the type of project — bike lanes versus ramps, for example — and he also included input gathered in online maps.

Designs are underway for the projects, he said, and they are scheduled to begin in April. They include:

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- Replacement of sidewalks on Allen Street;

- Installation of accessible ramps and replacement of sidewalks on Fenn and Allen streets; Fenn and Willis streets;

- Installation of buffered bike lanes on Wahconah Street;

- Installation of a midblock crossing on Burbank Street with curb extensions and accessible ramps in front of Morningside School;

- Reconfiguration of the crossing island at East and Elm streets with the addition of pedestrian signals;

- Installation of new accessible ramps with additional crosswalks along multiple intersections of Lincoln Street;

- Installation of protected crossing island and accessible ramps at West and Hurlbut streets;

- Additional bike lanes on Elm Street to replace sharrows;

- Installation of new signal and pedestrian signals with accessible ramps on Springside Avenue and Grove Street;

- Sidewalk replacement on Union Street.

Amanda Drane can be contacted at adrane@berkshireeagle.com, @amandadrane on Twitter, and 413-496-6296.


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