Oak Bluffs selectmen voted Tuesday to make part of Dukes County Avenue one-way, to reduce parking congestion and make the road safer for vehicles, including fire trucks and ambulances.
The decision will create a one-way road from Wing Road to Masonic Avenue, with parallel parking and a four-foot pedestrian walkway on the left side of the street.
The plan would be in effect until September of 2012, but includes a provision that selectmen could reconsider and make changes to the traffic plan at any time.
“I have mixed emotions about whether this is really going to solve any problems, parking-wise or otherwise,” selectman Walter Vail said. “I would like to try this on a trial basis. It had better work well, or I’m ready to say ‘no way.'”
The vote followed a public hearing that included emotional expressions from residents, business owners, and public officials on both sides.
Also Tuesday, selectmen extended the contract of interim town administrator Bob Whritenour for two months. The vote was unanimous.
Following a sharp debate,the board reiterated its charge to its search committee, charged with screening candidates for the permanent administrator’s position. The board left no ambiguity in its request that the committee consider Mr. Whritenour a finalist and present the three additional candidates.
According to selectman chairman Kathy Burton, the screening committee asked for clarification of its mission, and several members wanted to interview Mr. Whritenour as part of the process.
“We don’t have time to do this right now,” Ms. Burton said. “I don’t know how we can accomplish it. I don’t think this is doable, to go through this whole process. The initial time frame was we were going to be presented with candidates on December 1.”
The board voted 4-0, with selectman Gail Barmakian abstaining, to ask the screening committee to stick to the original mission and the original time frame.