Tactical Urbanism Lightning Grants




Build Maine is excited to be able to offer a series of “Lightning Grants” for planning and implementing Tactical Urbanism demonstration projects in Maine.  The purpose of the program is:

  • To promote greater communication between residents, municipal staff, elected officials, state officials, and stakeholders.
  • To fund and demonstrate the benefits of iterative improvements made possible by low-cost installations.
  • To fund and demonstrate the benefits of testing ideas before spending significant funds to install permanent changes.
  • To gather data that can be used to inform conversations and decisions at the state and local level.


Our goal is support small to mid-sized projects that are driven by community members, city leaders, or public works staff who can demonstrate a need and the capacity to execute the project.  


Projects must meet the following criteria:

  • Projects may be temporary or semi-permanent installations or activations that are located within the public realm or otherwise accessible by the public.  
  • A well formed idea that has, at least, some community buy in.
  • Although Tactical Urbanism has roots in “rogue projects” we believe that getting buy-in from the municipality is critical to executing and demonstrating a successful outcome that can be duplicated and built-upon.  Applicants will be required to show support from their community leadership before ‘breaking ground’.
  • Projects may be transportation focused (road diets, bike lanes, traffic calming, signage) or community enhancement (park or plaza activation, art installations, pop-up parks, or other public engagement ideas).
  • Project outcomes should be documentable and measureable in some fashion, and projects that test future large-scale, permanent projects are encouraged.  
  • There must be a project team, and team leaders, that have time to commit to the project.
  • Commitments for in-kind donations to help make the project more affordable.

Sample Projects:

  • Formalize or enhance a neighborhood trail link or shortcut.
  • Install a protected bike lane.
  • Paint a new crosswalk.
  • Activate an underutilized public space.
  • Activate a vacant lot.
  • Reallocate underutiliezd road space for public life.
  • arrow travel lanes to slow vehicular speed.
  • Add stop signs to improve intersection safety.


The Tactical Urbanism Lightning Grant will provide cash awards of $1,000 maximum, with additional project support available through shared supplies, technical support, and other available project support.   

The Tactical Lightning Grant Committee can also provide the following support, as needed and appropriate.

  • Technical support.
  • Connections to vendors.
  • Shared materials and supplies.
  • Design expertise.

While the Lightning Grant Committee can help move projects forward, and provide technical assistance, the project team must be able to execute the project on their own, and follow through with the required documentation and process.  If you have questions, email: connect@build-maine.com.


Projects will be evaluated and selected by the Tactical Urbanism Lighting Grants Committee.  An email should be sent, per the submission instructions.  The Grants Committee will provide a response within 2 weeks.    


Project dates: Rolling application process.

Number of projects to be selected: As funding permits.


Kara Wilbur, Principle
Vanessa Farr, Maine Design Workshop
Adam Burk, Treehouse Institute
Nick Kauffman, Build Maine
Jeremiah Bartlett, City of Portland
Jonathan LaBonte, City of Auburn
Jim Tasse, Bicycle Coalition of Maine
Jamie Parker, Portland Trails
Addy Smith-Reimen, Transportation Consulting
Steve Reynolds, Newcastle Public Works
Steve Landry, Maine DOT
Rob Ponteau, Maine Public Works Association


Send an email that contains the following information to


Email proposals should be organized according to the scope below, using the same numbered format.

1. Problem Statement.  

Provide an overview of the problem that is trying to be solved or intent of the project.

2. Project Description.  

Provide a brief overview of the work proposed as part of this project.  This should include a description of the installation, including a written summary of the materials or tactics being used, and as many details as possible about how the materials will be deployed.  If the project is going to take place within a street, this section should also include a traffic safety plan that describes how the installation will be done in a safe manner that causes minimum disruptions to the flow of traffic.

3. Project Team & Collaborators.  

Describe who is involved in the project.  This includes who is already involved, and who else you plan to involve.  Included in this description should be the level of enthusiasm currently held by the various project team members and partners, so the grants committee can understand the opportunities and challenges with regard to human capital.

4. Work Plan / Schedule.  

Describe in detail how you will take the project from idea to implementation.  This should include key communications, how you will secure materials, when the installation will occur, etc.

5. Political strategy.  

Describe how the project team has or intends to interface with local municipal leadership, the Maine Department of Transportation, police / sheriff's departments, local businesses, neighbors, and any other critical stakeholders.  This should include a description of how the project team will engage with all of the above groups and where the project team has experienced or anticipates challenges.

6. Communications strategy.  

Describe how you will communicate with the public, state-level officials, and local elected officials, including before the project is installed, during the testing period, and after the install is removed.  The Tactical Urbanism Grants Committee has an on-line comment form that can be used by the project team.    

7. Data collection & reporting strategy.  

Describe the kind of data you will collect, including how and when data collection will occur and who you have secured to do the data collection.  This description should include a timeline for when measurements will be taken before the project is installed, during the testing period, and after the install is removed.  See the reporting requirements section below for more information.

8. Budget / Total funding request.  

Provide your total funding need in an Excel document, broken down by item, unit cost, number of units, total cost per item, and total project cost.  Include items that will be donated and indicate who is donating the items.

Should the applicant want to use materials available through the Tactical Urbanism Grant Committee, please include the same information as above.

Please provide the following attachments and details:

  • Photographs showing precedent ideas.
  • Aerial map that shows the location of the tactical installation, with details on where installations will be located, with keyed descriptions.
  • Notated aerial that shows the the location and dimensional intent of the installation.
  • For projects taking place in a street, a traffic safety plan that shows temporary traffic flow, signage that will be used and where it will be placed, and other information that will help the Grants Committee understand the plan.
  • Budget.
  • ny other supporting information that is easier to attach then to include in the body of the email.

Email: connect@build-maine.com with any questions.


Gathering feedback and data is critical to temporary and semi-permanent projects.  The project team must have a plan in place to ensure that both before and after conditions are captured, and must document the response to the changes.  For projects that are selected, this data must be submitted to the Lighting Grant Committee as part of the grants reporting.  

High resolution photos of the installation.

  • Drone video documenting behavior.
  • Before & after traffic speeds, as appropriate.
  • Before & after pedestrian activity, as appropriate.
  • Before & after interviews with stakeholders, abutters, or others directly affected by the project.
  • On-line comment forms that capture community feedback and sentiments. The Tactical Urbanism Grants Committee has an on-line comment form that can be used by the project team.