I had a productive phone conversation with Jon Kaplan from the Bike & Pedestrian program yesterday. We talked about upcoming grants to build sidewalks and enhance street-side safety. From an economic development perspective, pedestrian- and bike-friendly streets are essential features which help attract new residents and small businesses.
But before I get to that great news, here’s something you might really enjoy: Routes 12 & 12A south of Northfield are scheduled to be paved in the near future!
Jon sent me a link to the VTrans site which shows the State’s paving and road maintenance schedules. The picture above is a screenshot from VTransparency.gov. As you can see, segments of Routes 12 and 12A are identified as in “very poor condition” and, fortunately, are in the construction scheduling pipeline. Let’s chalk that up as an item for in the Good News Department!
S0, back to my conversation with Jon Kaplan. The subject was about grant funding for sidewalks, crosswalks, and other bike & pedestrian safety projects.
$3 million in federal grant funding is available for major projects, generally in the $300,000 or greater range. Last year, there was about $6 million in requests, so obviously there’s plenty of competition from other communities who want to improve their local byways. However, Northfield has done a lot of planning recently, so we’re in a better-than-average position to win if we submit a proposal.
The other opportunity is a Small Projects grant funded by the State. $300,000 is available with average grant sizes in the $10,000 to $30,000 range. Turns out, not many communities have applied for funds from this program recently. The award amount can help build crosswalks with curbing, provide signage, install bicycle parking racks, or other smaller scale enhancements for public safety.
The application window opens near the end of April or mid-May. Decisions are announced in September.
What do you think? If you think sidewalks, crosswalks, or bike paths are a good idea, post the project you’d prioritize in the comment section below? What small project rises above other small projects? What kind of big project would you like to see? Share your thoughts!