West Tisbury asks state for safety markers at intersection


The West Tisbury selectmen, and the town police and fire chiefs have formally asked the state highway department to install traffic delineators along the center line at the intersection of State Road and Old County Road, the scene of a recent three-car accident.

In a letter signed by selectmen when they met May 26, selectmen said, “while there are not many actual accidents at this intersection there are many, many near misses daily, caused by left-turning drivers failing to yield to eastbound traffic.” The letter was accompanied by crash data.

The traffic delineators would serve as “an easy, temporary fix” for the intersection, acting police Chief Dan Rossi said. The tube-shaped flexible posts would be approximately three feet high, placed 10 to 12 feet apart and bolted to the road surface. The tubes spring back on vehicle contact, he said.

Mr. Rossi said that because State Road is a state-owned roadway, there is little that town officials can do to enhance safety at the intersection without state action.

The state has proposed two plans for reconstructing the intersection, which selectmen have rejected. The Martha’s Vineyard Commission (MVC) also developed two alternatives for reconfiguring the intersection.

Selectmen plan to discuss the intersection when they meet with MVC executive director Mark London, who is scheduled to attend a May 9 meeting to explain the recommended alternatives and answer questions.

“We have to make something happen there,” Mr. Knabel said.

“We have to make something not happen there,” selectman Cynthia Mitchell added.

In other business, the selectmen established the West Tisbury Police Station site and planning committee. They appointed volunteers Susan Wasserman, John Christensen, Norman Perry, former police chief Beth Toomey, and Mr. Rossi to the committee.

Fault lines began to appear when selectmen and the newly appointed members discussed the scope of the committee’s charge.

Mr. Manter said that the design of the new building and space must accommodate the police department for the next 20 years. Ms. Toomey said that the committee would rely on a consultant to define the needs of the building. Mr. Knabel said that the $15,000 budgeted for the committee’s work was intended for the consulting fees.

Mr. Knabel said that the committee must identify the site for the new building and that the Public Safety Building area is the site most often considered the prime location.

“Another site is not the town’s intention,” he said, but Mrs. Toomey disagreed. She said that locating the police station at the public safety building complex was a last-minute consideration.

The selectmen deferred the approval of the wording of the committee’s assignment until next week’s meeting.

Selectmen named Jeffrey Lynch as the new shellfish warden. Mr. Lynch is the assistant shellfish warden in Chilmark, as well as a commercial fisherman.

He is precluded from commercial fishing in West Tisbury while serving as the town’s warden. The selectmen also discussed the relationship between the warden and the shellfish committee and decided that the warden should not sit on the committee.

Philippe Jordi, director of the Island Housing Trust, told the selectmen of an energy saving incentive program being offered to the new homeowners at 250 State Road. Seven families recently moved into the affordable housing project, and the eighth home, being built by Habitat for Humanity, is expected to be completed in a couple of weeks.All eight homes have roof-mounted solar electric systems and energy efficiency upgrades. Mr. Jordi said that South Mountain Company, which designed and built the 250 State Road development, has challenged all the homeowners to achieve zero net energy use over the next year. To each household that succeeds, South Mountain will award a one-year membership in the Whippoorwill Farm CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) or a gift certificate at a local fish store. If no one succeeds, the home that comes closest to zero net energy use receives the prize.