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Streets for Pandemic Response and Recovery Grant Program

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To support cities as they adapt public space to provide health services information to residents, create space for safe mobility, and bolster local economies, NACTO has selected ten community-based projects to receive Streets for Pandemic Response and Recovery funding. 

These projects represent a wide range of response actions in NACTO member cities across the US. Working directly with local partners to provide space and services to the neighborhoods hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic, these cities are delicately navigating the tension between the speed required for emergency pandemic response, and the thoughtfulness required to ensure that rapid project delivery doesn’t further perpetuate inequity or harm communities most in need of support.

NACTO, with funding from Bloomberg Philanthropies, awarded grants of $25,000 to ten member city transportation agencies that are partnering with community-based organizations to reimagine streets, implement ideas, and support ongoing community efforts that meet the needs of populations disproportionately harmed by COVID-19. 

NACTO awarded grants of $25,000 to projects in ten NACTO member cities based on the following criteria:

  • Projects must be directly and demonstrably related to COVID-19 response and recovery efforts.
  • Projects must center the needs of populations disproportionately harmed by COVID-19’s public health, social, and economic impacts.
  • Projects must demonstrate a high level of project readiness, evident in clear political support, strong community partnerships and/or project ownership, and a high likelihood of being implemented within the 2-month grant timeline.
  • Applicants must demonstrate interest in and willingness to participate in a knowledge-sharing cohort.

Awarded strategies focus on supporting safe physical distancing while walking, biking, or taking transit; safe mobility for essential trips; and/or economic recovery for businesses and workers and respond to the needs of populations disproportionately harmed by COVID-19’s public health and economic impacts.

Application Details >>

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Grant Awardees

NACTO Member: City of Alexandria
Community Partner: Casa Chirilagua
Project Name: Bridging the Digital Divide in Arlandria’s Public Space
The City of Alexandria is partnering with Casa Chirilagua (Casa) to build a safe, comfortable, and WiFi-connected outdoor space for students to study in Arlandria, a neighborhood where many households don’t have access to reliable Internet. The outdoor public space is located adjacent to Casa, an organization that provides family support services, after-school tutoring, language programs, and computer literacy classes. Limited in the services they can provide indoors during the pandemic, Casa will utilize this new public space to meet with families, teach classes, and support this neighborhood in need.

NACTO Member: Atlanta Department of Transportation (ATLDOT)
Community Partners: Georgia STAND-UP, TransFormation Alliance
Project Name: Pop-up Information and Public Health Resources Sharing
The Atlanta Department of Transportation is partnering with Georgia STAND-UP and TransFormation Alliance to convert several streets in SW Atlanta, starting with the West End MARTA Station, into COVID information hubs. In addition to providing critical information to communities heavily impacted by the pandemic, the street and lane closures will also provide space for essential workers in these communities to safely walk, bike, and access transit.

NACTO Member: Denver Department of Transportation and Infrastructure (DOTI)
Project Name: Patio Expansion Initiative for COVID (PEIC)
After the city’s rollout of a patio expansion program to allow restaurants to extend outdoor seating into the public right of way, very few businesses in Denver’s equity areas have applied. With this grant, DOTI will provide technical assistance and materials to small businesses in Westwood and East Colfax, two neighborhoods that have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and historical redlining. This support will bolster women and minority owned small businesses that have little operating cushion and are especially vulnerable during the pandemic.

NACTO Member: City of Detroit
Community Partners: Urban Neighborhood Initiatives (UNI), Brilliant Detroit
Project Name: Streets for People Streets for Learning
The City of Detroit is working with two community-based organizations to temporarily close streets near neighborhood schools and parks in Southwest, Cody Rouge, East (Osborne), and the North End to create outdoor community hubs for young people and other residents. These partners will each program their own spaces tailored to the needs of the specific community where they are based, focusing on creating outdoor learning space, providing childcare, hosting enrichment activities, and creating street art. 

NACTO Member: City of Durham
Community Partner: SpiritHouse
Project Name: Calles Compartidas
The City of Durham is partnering with a community-based organization, SpiritHouse, to engage residents of East Durham in the development of Shared Streets/Calles Compartidas in the community. Residents will work closely with SpiritHouse to describe what makes a Shared Street feel safe and inclusive, and the City of Durham, in partnership with SpritHouse and local residents, will incorporate art, culture, recreational equipment, and signage on the street. Ultimately, these streets will provide open recreation space for Durham residents who have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.  

NACTO Member: Long Beach
Community Partner: The Long Beach Conservation Corps
Project Name: Mom and Pop Parklet Program
In the midst of rising coronavirus cases across California and a roll-back of indoor dining, local restaurants in Long Beach are reliant on outdoor seating to remain afloat. While restaurants across the city face the same existential need, most of the businesses taking advantage of the City’s existing parklet assistance program are concentrated in business districts and more affluent neighborhoods. This grant will allow Long Beach and its local partners to focus on small businesses in four historically underserved communities, providing translated outreach materials for the parklet program and funding to small businesses for the construction of inviting spaces for outdoor dining in public rights-of-way.

NACTO Member: City of Minneapolis Public Works
Project Name: 2020 Mobility Hub Pilot
The City of Minneapolis Department of Public Works is expanding the defined use of Mobility Hubs beyond being a place where people can connect to multiple modes of transportation safely and conveniently. In this year’s pilot, the City expanded the number of locations in their Mobility Hub program and is now pivoting hub usage to respond to the new needs of the community due to COVID-19 and civil unrest. The City will be working with local community partners to identify the evolving needs of the low income neighborhoods disproportionately impacted and use the Hubs as a neighborhood level distribution point.

NACTO Member: New York City Department of Transportation (DOT)
Community Partner: Rockaway Initiative for Sustainability & Equity (RISE)
Project Name: RISE for the Rockaways: A Rapid Response for an Equitable Recovery
New York City DOT is partnering with RISE to transform underutilized space under the elevated A train line into a “recovery corridor” in Far Rockaway, a neighborhood in Queens that has the second-highest coronavirus death rate in the city. The transformation will allow greater connectivity to transit and community facilities, provide space for COVID testing and information distribution, and create outdoor seating for public programming. 

NACTO Member: Philadelphia oTIS
Project Name: Addressing Racial Inequity in Philadelphia’s COVID-19 Outdoor Dining Program
Philadelphia restaurants located in neighborhoods with predominantly non-white residential populations are underrepresented in the City’s outdoor dining program. With this grant, the City of Philadelphia will work with local restaurants in communities of color to address two issues: first, identify shortcomings in the program and address racial inequities that are creating hurdles for businesses in predominately non-white neighborhoods; and second, work with businesses in these communities that are located on federally regulated roadways by developing creative solutions for repurposing street space while remaining compliant with federal guidance.

NACTO Member: Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT)
Project Name: Black-Centered Spaces for Community and Business in Albina
The Portland Bureau of Transportation is expanding their Frontline Communities Partnership Program (FCPP) to provide resources to businesses in the Albina neighborhood as they create physically distant spaces for business activities. Since the start of the pandemic, the FCPP has focused on engaging community partners to inform and strengthen PBOT’s COVID-19 response. Working directly with local partners in Albina, PBOT will support BIPOC-owned businesses in this historically Black neighborhood to design and build open spaces that will allow for safe shopping and eating, while incorporating public art and youth programming into the design of the spaces.

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Streets for Pandemic Response and Recovery

NACTO Streets for Pandemic Response and Recovery CoverThe COVID-19 global pandemic altered every aspect of urban life in recent months. In response, city transportation officials around the world have quickly implemented new street design and management tools to keep essential workers and goods moving, provide safe access to grocery stores and other essential businesses, and ensure that people have safe space for social/physical distancing while getting outside. These evolving practices will shape our cities as we respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and are key to our long-term recovery.

Streets for Pandemic Response and Recovery compiles emerging practices from around the world and includes implementation resources for cities and their partners. Recognizing the rapidly changing nature of this pandemic, Streets for Pandemic Response and Recovery will be revised and expanded to include new strategies, address changing conditions, and provide the best possible information on each design practice.