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Connecticut: $4.97 Million in Main Street Fund Grants

The 1910 Minuteman sculpture in Westport, Conn. is symbolic of the community's independent spirit, and also the symbol for the town flag, designed pro bono by Miggs Burroughs, and, as an interesting aside, financed by Rodney Dangerfield in 1985...finally, he gets some respect.

Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy announced $4.97 million in Main Street Investment Fund (MSIF) grants for 14 Connecticut towns, including: Cornwall, Falls Village, Burlington, Canton and Westport.

Westport's share, $497,595 from the Connecticut Department of Housing, will go to new sidewalks, curbing, tree grates and guardrails to the downtown street infrastructure.

Falls Village will get $450,000 to construct an ADA compliant bluestone sidewalk (historically appropriate) for Main Street, plus add street trees, curbing and bump outs. Cornwall's more modest $70,000 will go to new sidewalks for improved pedestrian access and safety in the village center.

D.C.'s Sherman Ave. NW Streetscape--Done!

Sherman Ave NW in D.C. went from four lanes to two to slow traffic. Drivers now share the roadway with bicyclists.

It began in October 2010, and for locals seemed forever, but D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray cut the ribbon on July 9, 2013 to commemorate the completing of the $13 million Sherman Avenue NW streetscape project: wider sidewalks; new medians with trees and bushes; freshly painted bike "sharrows" (markings that guide bicyclists where to ride and to remind motorists they are sharing the lane with bicyclists); and four lanes to two for traffic calming. Work on underground utilities delayed the project. In further D.C. streetscape news, the beautification of U Street is imminent, and Maryland Ave NE on Capitol Hill will get a similar treatment as Sherman Avenue NW.

Ann Arbor, Michigan

The Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority has established a $200,000 project budget to develop a "Downtown Streetscape Framework Plan" over the next two years.

In the past, streetscape improvements in Ann Arbor, Michigan were planned piecemeal, a single street or a few blocks at a time. Today, however, the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority wants to look at the entire downtown layout, examine how vehicles, bikes and pedestrians use the streets, and decide what the streets should look like. The aim is to strengthen the downtown and attract new private investment.

Providence, Rhode Island

Providence, Rhode Island is embarking on Phase 3 of its "Downtown Circulator" project.

Widening sidewalks, redesigning dangerous intersections, turning more one-way streets into two-ways, reducing automobile lanes to accommodate wider sidewalks and bike lanes are among the aims of phase three of Providence's streetscape improvements.

The most contentious aspect of the project is revitalizing Kennedy Plaza. The city, in partnership with the R.I. Transit Authority and the Downtown Providence Parks Conservancy (DPPC), plans to make the square more accessible for pedestrians and vehicles by altering traffic flow, reducing bus berths and redesigning sidewalks. Other alterations will slow traffic and make pedestrian crossings shorter in the Emmett Square area, a jumble of crosswalks, raised islands and traffic converging from multiple directions. DPPC also seeks to create more park-like public spaces by adding such downtown amenities as plants and trees, park benches, lighting and art.

Knoxville, Iowa

Knoxville, Iowa borrowed over $3 million to replace streetscape infrastructure for five blocks downtown, including the four around the Marion County Courthouse. The project has a completion deadline of spring 2015.

Main Street in Ol' Town Manassas

Manassas, Va. officials have a $1.075 million streetscapes budget to improve Main Street in the Old Town area.

Main Street, Manassas will widen its four-foot wide sidewalks to eight feet, and the 5.5-foot sidewalks to 19-feet for sidewalk dining. Brick crosswalks, 10 parallel parking spaces and 19 street trees ('Allee' lacebark elms, 'Green Vase' Japanese Zelkovas) are also on tap.

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November 22, 2019, 12:08 pm PDT

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