10 NACTO members will receive $50,000 grants for street redesigns that address disproportionate health and economic impacts of COVID-19
The National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), in partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies, today announced a second round of a short-term grant program to adapt streets in service of communities disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Building on the success of city-community partnerships funded in 2020, NACTO is again offering support to 10 city transportation agencies working with local organizations to transform streets into community assets that aid in pandemic recovery. The program is a continuation of the Streets for Pandemic Response and Recovery initiative, funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, which documented the quick-build design strategies–from bike and bus lanes, to slow streets, and outdoor dining–implemented by cities around the world in response to the pandemic. Each selected community will receive $50,000 along with technical assistance and access to a peer network of cities and consultants to help with project scoping, planning, and execution.
“Through NACTO’s Streets for Pandemic Response and Recovery program, cities forged new ties with their residents and proved that the most impactful projects are those grounded in what communities need most,” said Janette Sadik-Khan, NACTO Chair and Principal with Bloomberg Associates. “We are thrilled to expand these opportunities in this next round of grants, where the increased funding and expanded timeline will provide even deeper support to cities, develop stronger community partnerships and deliver more of the innovative street redesign projects we need to build back better than ever.”
“Around the country, cities continue to respond to the pandemic with bold and creative ideas–including adapting their streets to better meet the needs of people,” said Michael Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and former mayor of New York City. “From closing roads for outdoor dining to expanding bike lanes, these changes are helping cities recover from the pandemic in ways that make them safer, stronger and more equitable than before. We’re glad to support these projects, and to help more cities take action.”
“Streets work best when they reflect the priorities of the people who use them,” said Corinne Kisner, Executive Director of NACTO. “The Streets for Pandemic Response and Recovery grant program is designed to center the expertise of community members in adapting streets to meet this moment. We’re thrilled to support our member cities and agencies with this program, and create opportunities for innovation and idea-sharing to help more places chart a path to a more just, equitable, and community-centered recovery.”
“Streets for Pandemic Response and Recovery enabled us to take a step back when planning shared streets in East Durham and tap into community expertise to define our shared goals and the most effective ways to achieve them,” said Sean Egan, Director of the Durham Department of Transportation. “With the resources from the program, we were able to design a slow streets program that reflected the community’s safety priorities. What started as a shared streets program morphed into a traffic calming project, showing us that cities work best when they work with local partners.”
“We’re laying a foundation for lasting, community-driven change and supporting economic recovery in Denver, and we’re doing it by building partnerships and trust,” said Eulois Cleckley, Executive Director, Denver Department of Transportation & Infrastructure and NACTO President. “The Streets for Pandemic Response & Recovery grant supported Denver’s work to increase participation in the city’s outdoor street patio program in two equity neighborhoods, leading to a greater understanding of the challenges businesses face during this time and identify ways to address them appropriately. This effort will help with sparking an equitable recovery in American cities of all sizes.”
The Streets for Pandemic Response and Recovery grant program seeks to address enduring challenges city transportation departments face when implementing community-responsive street design projects. The program provides flexible funding for cities to redesign streets, providing the resources needed to try new innovative ideas in a time of constrained city budgets. The program requires cities to work hand-in-hand with trusted, grassroots organizations, aiming to address mistrust about government actions or intentions among local communities, particularly in communities of color disproportionately harmed by historic policies. And the program aims to reimagine how civic engagement can work, shifting the role of residents from reactive receivers of a project to proactive producers of them.
NACTO will offer 10 cities within its 89-member network grants of $50,000 each for projects that can help them launch or catalyze pandemic recovery efforts. Projects must be developed in partnership with a community-rooted partner, who holds expertise and relationship with local residents, to meet a demonstrated need among local communities. Eligible strategies will focus on physical or operational changes to public space, including the roadbed, sidewalks, and other spaces such as parking lots or plazas. 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. Applications can be accessed at nacto.org and are due by May 20. They will be processed and awarded to winning cities as quickly as possible to aid their recovery.
About the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO)
NACTO is an association of 89 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 nacto.org or follow us on Twitter at @NACTO.
About Bloomberg Philanthropies
Bloomberg Philanthropies invests in 810 cities and 170 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, corporate, and personal philanthropy as well as Bloomberg Associates, a pro bono consultancy that works in cities around the world. In 2020, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $1.6 billion. For more information, please visit bloomberg.org or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and TikTok.
Alexander Engel | alex (at) nacto.org