To the Editor:
Does everyone realize what is about to happen at the intersection of Edgartown and Barnes Roads in Oak Bluffs? The state is close to building a roundabout. A roundabout is a one-lane travel circle with the goal of keeping traffic moving (improvement of flow.) The design is complete, with crosswalks and bike lanes, signage and lighting. The price is $1.1 million state and federal dollars. There will no longer be stop signs. Bikes and mopeds will be allowed to use it. This is a very expensive, questionable project.
At the public hearing Wednesday afternoon, there were no current statistics to show the dramatic decline in accidents, especially serious ones, since the four-way stop was implemented five years ago. Isn’t that what propelled this process in the first place?
The question I had was, since it appears that the four-way stop is working, why fix something that isn’t broken? The answer from an Oak Bluffs selectmen was that the four-way stop is deemed a “temporary solution.” Who says?
It was also stated that the residents of Oak Bluffs do not need to use that intersection to get to their own destinations. It is we, all the citizens and guests of the Vineyard, who will use it the most. So, if I understand correctly, five Oak Bluffs selectmen, whose citizens do not tend to go through this busy intersection to conduct their business, have the power to give the go-ahead or the no-ahead for a project that will affect everyone else on the Island for many years. Why was this not referred to the Martha’s Vineyard Commission as a DRI?
If we need to make further improvements because of backups at the four-way stop, why not put in a traffic light? In the spirit of problem-solving (if there is still a perception of a problem,) what would it take to install a traffic light similar to the one on the Woods Hole Road, with timers for things like a long green light, short red light, for the Edgartown Road, and a correspondingly long red light, short green light, for Barnes Road?
Timers would give the heavier traffic on the Edgartown Road the advantage it deserves, create a safe way to allow pedestrians and bikers to cross, and even allow emergency vehicles the ability to clear the intersection for their passage. Answer: public pressure and a lot less than a million dollars.
Is that the sound of your selectmen/MVC’s office phones ringing, or the sound of silence?
If you love a roundabout, do nothing.