State Road neighbors step up safety campaign

A group of State Road residents and business owners has stepped up a campaign to limit traffic speed and caution bicyclists to walk along the stretch from Main Street to Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road.

Lorraine Parish spearheads the neighborhood effort. She has lived on the street for 16 years and operates a clothing boutique, fashion design business, and bed and breakfast at her house.

Ms. Parish and her neighbors first brought their concerns about the road’s safety to the Tisbury selectmen’s attention in a petition submitted two years ago.

The group recently rallied their efforts again following a fatal accident on July 6. Dina Dececca was riding a bicycle on the sidewalk near Camp Street and fell into the path of a slow-moving tractor-trailer truck.

Last Thursday, Ms. Parish presented the Vineyard Transit Authority with a letter she wrote for distribution to authority bus drivers urging them to observe the 20 miles per hour (mph) speed limit on State Road between Main Street and Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road.

She is taking her campaign one step further.

“What I’m doing right now is making a list of all the truckers I see speeding and the companies, so we can get a phone-calling campaign going to bombard them with complaints,” Ms. Parish said later that day. “If we can get the trucks and VTA buses to go the speed limit, it will help slow everybody down.”

Shortly after the July 6 bike accident, Ms. Parish and her neighbors put up red and white signs in their yards advising, “Dangerous road, walk your bikes.”

Ms. Parish also asked Jennifer Bick, who owns a handmade book and bookbinding business on State Road, to make some 20 mph speed limit signs like those erected by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT).

They subsequently put up five double-sided signs made by Ms. Bick along State Road in their neighborhood. Although MassDOT employees Ed Panek and Louis Smith came by and removed them, Ms. Parish said, “They were very polite and nice about it, and told me they were going to take the signs down and come back with some real ones.”

The men later returned, as promised, and put up three new speed-limit signs.