Fall River is switching gears and putting a stronger focus on cyclists and pedestrians.

According to the press release, Fall River was announced by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) as the recipient of a $229,256.55 grant in the fifth round of funding from the Baker-Polito Administration’s Shared Winter Streets and Spaces program on Monday, April 5. The program, which was launched on November 10, 2020, provides technical and funding assistance to help Massachusetts cities and towns conceive, design, and implement tactical changes to curbs, streets, and parking areas in support of public health, safe mobility, and renewed commerce, with a special focus on the challenges of winter.

As a result of the grant award, the city will create bike lanes along portions of Water Street, Milliken Boulevard, and Rodman Street. The project will also make improvements, such as ADA-compliant ramps and safety flashing beacons, to pedestrian crossings at three locations:

  • Pleasant Street at 8th Street
  • Pleasant Street at Quequechan Street
  • South Main Street at Anawan Street

New wayfinding signs, directed at bicyclists, will create better connections to both the East Coast Greenway, a developing 3,000-mile traffic-separated bicycling and walking path connecting communities from Maine to Florida, and Fall River’s existing Quequechan River Rail Trail.

“This grant provides an excellent opportunity for Fall River to become a safer and more enjoyable community for bikers and pedestrians alike,” Mayor Paul Coogan said. “These infrastructure improvements will have remarkable benefits for residents of all ages and will make it easier to access some of Fall River’s greatest amenities- including our waterfront, our growing downtown, and the beautiful Quequechan Rail Trail.”

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The goal of Fall River’s Reimagined Streets Pedestrian and Bicyclist Project, which will begin this spring, is to increase pedestrian and bicyclist safety and mobility, improve connections between neighborhoods, commercial corridors, and public spaces while encouraging outdoor exploration and active transportation around the project area.

The project concepts and plans were designed by Kittelson and Associates - a MassDOT technical assistance provider. Sarah Labossiere is the Coordinator for Mass in Motion-Fall River and was also instrumental in the project’s design.

"With these improvements, it is our hope that Fall River folks who walk, bike, and roll through this project area will find safer and more inviting connections to their destinations,” Labossiere said. “In turn, we hope that this will increase active transportation and recreation in the city and highlight the many natural, cultural, and commercial resources along the route."

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