A $222,077 grant from the state Department of Transportation's Complete Streets program will expand sidewalks on a dangerous stretch of road on the west end of Housatonic’s busy Main Street.

In this area, pedestrians must walk in the road between North Plain Road (Route 41) and 1045 Main Street, where the existing sidewalk ends. The new construction will improve pedestrian safety in this section of the village.

“Neighbors talked, we listened, and so did the state,” said Town Planner Christopher Rembold. “This project will make a big difference in Housatonic for both safety and recreation.”

The sidewalk funding is included in a state Department of Transportation Complete Streets grant program: $3 million in grants was announced this week by Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito and Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver.

Last year, Great Barrington residents were surveyed about their priorities regarding traffic and pedestrian safety around town; these results were ranked and shared with DOT. Among those projects, the Housatonic Main Street sidewalk problem at topped the list.

The expanded sidewalks will also improve access to the recreational Housatonic Rail Trail, which runs north and south with an access point adjacent to 1010 Main St. ADA-compliant curb ramps will also be installed along the new sidewalk stretch as well, along with marked crossings at the South Street and Oak Street intersections.

The MassDOT Complete Streets Funding Program provides technical assistance and construction funding to eligible municipalities. Eligible municipalities must pass a Complete Streets Policy and develop a priority plan, which Great Barrington completed last year.

"The town is grateful to the state for prioritizing this project in the Housatonic village," said Selectboard Chair Stephen Bannon.

According to a DOT statement this week, Gov. Charlie Baker said: “The Complete Streets program enables local leaders to invest in projects that will have the greatest impact in their communities,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “This round of Complete Streets funding awards will support eleven municipalities as they improve their infrastructure for a variety of transportation options, including walking, riding a bicycle and public transportation.”

Article Image: Great Barrington Town Planner Chris Rembold

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