The question not on the ballot


To the Editor:

Well, I truly thought that my last letter regarding the roundabout was it. But, what can a citizen do when the town officials keep supplying fodder, sort of like “the gift that keeps on giving”?

In case you haven’t heard, the non-binding referendum vote on the roundabout will not be on the Oak Bluffs ballot on April 12.

It seems that the other five towns either cooperated and voted to place the question on the ballot, or we were able to follow their rules correctly. But for some reason, we failed the test in Oak Bluffs. So my fellow voters, if you can stay awake til 10 or 11 o-clock at night on April 10, the question will be on the town meeting warrant. Of course, this sort of question is always at the end of the meeting, and we know how many people will still be there to vote.

You know, I wonder what happened to make the town so afraid to know definitively how we feel about this issue. What happened between the time Kathy Burton, chairman of the selectmen, was interviewed and was quoted that it would be on the ballot, and then we discovered that meeting was only a discussion meeting and no vote was taken. Wasn’t Ms. Burton in attendance? So on March 12, it was announced we failed the criterion, too late to correct.

And, as long as I’m here, I wish the roundabout proponents had been here at the proposed site on Monday, March 19, at approximately 7:45 am when a small pickup truck towing a small boat developed a problem. The driver was just able to pull out of the way enough to allow the morning traffic to proceed. After about 10 minutes he was gone. But I couldn’t help envisioning this happening in a single lane roundabout, morning traffic held up for 10 minutes. This sort of thing happens two or three times a month (that I see). One of those times an emergency vehicle could be delayed.

And Tisbury, don’t worry about your wanting to develop alternate roadways. Don’t you remember how the “yellow blinking light” which American drivers don’t acknowledge as “cautionary” was a mental “green light” to travel at 45 MPH and how that rate of travel through the intersection alleviated the congestion at either end? Remember the backup to old Shady Oaks Kennels? Well the roundabout allows travel up to 25 MPH. That should do it.

And, regarding “pretty in Miami.” How much did “pretty” cost to install? How much does “pretty” cost to maintain? And how does a plant zone 7/7A achieve a plant zone “pretty”? This is Martha’s Vineyard. That still holds an attraction that has all to do with a quality of life beyond “pretty.”

Now, for the elected officials who voted for the “20 years from now” scenario. They concluded that the auto traffic will be so great that only a roundabout will solve that future problem. Well, what about a 20-year plan that would see an expanded VTA (less cars), expanded bike paths (less cars), request SSA to place a cap on numbers of autos (been done before) and other “less auto traffic” ideas that other Islands have implemented? You’re supposed to be smarter than we, the voters. The current design/statistic makers have even reported that traffic through this intersection has decreased in the last three years (their records). Should I mention that one of the above, elected officials (20-year scenario person) said that there would probably have to be a “pedestrian controlled light” to accommodate bicycle traffic coming up Barnes Road (from the O.B. ferry) crossing the Edgartown–Vineyard Haven Road to continue on bike paths going toward the youth hostel. This idea is not included in the current design. How much more will that cost? And how is congestion at either end going to be relieved during these bicycle right of ways? What?

You see, only more and more questions with few solid answers.

But oh, I forgot, the roundabout will solve all of the above. I shouldn’t be concerned.

Sandra Lippens

Oak Bluffs