To the Editor:
This is a copy of my letter to the West Tisbury selectmen about their objection to the new state-installed guard at the bridge over the Mill Book.
Driving over the bridge between North Tisbury and West Tisbury village, I keep thinking of the olden days when all vehicles, whether gasoline- or horse-driven, simply forded Mill Book. Those were the days. But we must travel fast and don’t have the time (and luxury?) of the old-fashioned pleasure of fording, to say nothing of the damage it would inflict on our low-slung modern cars.
The bridge is a convenience and a blessing. Nowadays, we don’t have to drive in the water to cross the stream. But when I head up Island in my small car, I am occasionally terrified by huge trucks and buses barreling down the hill toward me, their tires traveling heavily straddled on my side of the double yellow line. Will it move back in its own lane? Will I make it without an accident?
So far, I have not been hit by these speeding monsters, but it is still scary and I am glad the sturdy new state-built fencing will keep my car from dropping over the edge into the stream. Conversely, when I go down the hill, will I hit the pretty white wooden bars should a huge truck veer over to my side? Then what? Wreck the fencing and fall into the water?
I sympathize with those who love the sight of the good old white squared-off wooden bars — so picturesque — but I look at it this way: traveling up Island, on my left is a bit of history, a fencing so vulnerable and many times hit and repaired because of careless driving, and on my right the sturdy brown life-sparing barrier. So, it’s a compromise: safety on the right, beauty on the left. History and modernity all in one. Here in the town of West Tisbury, we can have best of both worlds.