To the Editor:
There’s no reason for a roundabout, only the wish by some members of the Martha’s Vineyard Commission not to alienate the selectmen of Oak Bluffs, who put forward the ill-advised project. Those commissioners who approved the roundabout, including the commission chairman, Chris Murphy, who cast a tie-breaker vote favoring the project, clearly demonstrated their willingness to abdicate the commission’s primary responsibility for protecting the unique character of the Island.
In doing so, they called into question the commission’s effectiveness in that stewardship and protection.
In effect, they turned over to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation DOT ultimate responsibility for its design and are relying on DOT to produce a safe and workable plan, appropriate in scale and character for the Vineyard. The very close vote reflected the grave concerns of half the members of the commission, as well as a sizeable segment of Island residents, about the need for the roundabout and its flawed design.
Instead of rejecting the current incomplete and flawed plan, those favoring the project attempted to mitigate its negative impact with laughably minimal conditions on its construction. Bus stops, bike paths, lighting, landscaping, all came under detailed scrutiny at the very last minute, with suggestions put forward for minimizing the enormous negative impact the roundabout will have on the intersection.
Never mentioned was its real impact on summertime traffic. In effect it will make it almost impossible for those on Barnes and Airport roads to find an opening in the relentless flow of cars on the Vineyard Haven-Edgartown Road.
The design tinkering is too late. The Island is now stuck with a massive, ugly project, clearly unworkable in improving traffic flow or safety for drivers, bikers, or pedestrians, shorn of trees, bristling with lights, with unsafe bike paths, and a greatly expanded intersection paved over with concrete and asphalt.
One commissioner called it an “abomination,” and he was right.
Nancy A. Huntington