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NACTO Announces Streets for Pandemic Response and Recovery Grant Program, Helping Cities Transform Streets During the Pandemic

Jun 25, 2020

10 NACTO members will receive $25,000 grants for rapid-response street redesigns

The National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), in partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies, today announced a rapid-response grant program supporting efforts in 10 cities to transform streets in communities hit disproportionately by the COVID-19 pandemic—with projects that enable safe physical distancing for people walking, biking, taking transit, and using public space. The program represents the next phase of the Streets for Pandemic Response and Recovery initiative, which was funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, documenting the quick-build design strategies that cities have rapidly implemented around the world in response to the pandemic.

“Americans are starting to return to work, but it’s clear that cities aren’t returning to normal—and the old normal didn’t work for everyone,” said Janette Sadik-Khan, NACTO Chair and Principal with Bloomberg Associates. “Instead of restoring the old transportation status quo, cities can adapt their streets to address racial inequities and remove the longstanding barriers to access and opportunity that these crises have laid bare.”

“The COVID-19 crisis has amplified the existing crisis of racial inequity, and pandemic response is inextricably linked with the fight for racial justice,” said Corinne Kisner, NACTO Executive Director. “This grant opportunity will support city agencies working in partnership with community-based organizations to adapt streets in ways that best meet the needs of the people and communities hardest hit by this coronavirus.”

“The coronavirus is leading cities to rethink how they use streets and other public spaces so they can better promote health and economic recovery – and do so in ways that fight racial inequities,” said Michael Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and former Mayor of New York City. “By teaming up with NACTO to create this new grant program, we’ll help bring the best ideas to life in communities that have been hit hardest by the virus.”

Municipalities across North America are grappling with the health, social, and long-term economic impacts of the pandemic, and many large cities have converted former parking and driving lanes into bus lanes, bike lanes and pedestrian space to allow for safe mobility at an appropriate distance. From dedicating streets and sidewalks to critical food and medical services to creating space for learning and play, and offering people space to safely gather, celebrate, worship, and protest, cities are adapting streets to community needs in a time of COVID-19. But a growing number of transportation agencies, particularly in small- and mid-sized cities, face significant budget shortfalls and lack direct federal aid to implement such programs and tailor them to their neighborhoods. NACTO will offer 10 cities within its 84-member network grants of $25,000 each for projects that can help them respond quickly to their immediate pandemic needs. Projects must be developed in partnership with community-based organizations to confront the immediate challenges of this coronavirus and address inequities in communities harmed by COVID-19. Applications can be accessed at and are due by July 10. They will be processed swiftly and awarded to winning cities as quickly as possible to aid their recovery.

While city transportation agencies have the primary role of redesigning public roads, many community organizations have taken steps to address urgent needs like healthcare access, food insecurity and lost wages, all of which are affected by access to transportation. This program will prioritize projects that have strong support and input from community-based organizations, helping ensure that rapidly implemented projects don’t reintroduce or reinforce inequities in the communities most in need of support.

Learn more and apply >

About the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO)
NACTO is an association of 84 major North American cities and transit agencies formed to exchange transportation ideas, insights, and practices and cooperatively approach national transportation issues. The organization’s mission is to build cities as places for people, with safe, sustainable, accessible, and equitable transportation choices that support a strong economy and vibrant quality of life. To learn more, visit or follow us on Twitter at @NACTO.

About Bloomberg Philanthropies
Bloomberg Philanthropies invests in more than 570 cities and over 160 countries around the world to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: the Arts, Education, Environment, Government Innovation, and Public Health. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s giving, including his foundation and personal philanthropy as well as Bloomberg Associates, a pro bono consultancy that works in cities around the world. In 2019, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $3.3 billion. For more information, please visit or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and TikTok.