Editorial : A Comcast deal, at last
The new 10-year Comcast contract is a bum deal for Chappaquiddick residents, who will have to pay a steep price for cable service, make a two-year, year-round commitment, and perhaps pay more to get cable service from Chappy's main roads to their doors. Expansion of cable to other currently underserved areas will be expensive also. At the same time, the deal, in negotiation since 2011, adds a 10 percent senior discount program, an emergency alert override system, a fourth public access channel for MVTV, the Island's own cable programming producer, which is also funded through the Comcast contract.
As one negotiator described it, the agreement won't please everyone, especially Chappaquiddickers – very true – but there is some good in it for Islanders generally, and some on the small island will find it attractive. The six towns must now ratify the contract, and this page urges them to do so. The persistent Island negotiators have done a difficult, complicated, contentious job very well, on behalf of Vineyard year-round and summer homeowners. They deserve to have their efforts endorsed.
"Part of me was surprised [at the length and difficulty of the negotiations], but part of me realizes we were negotiating for six towns," Jennifer Rand said. "Most individual licenses take six month or a year. We did six." Ms. Rand, West Tisbury town administrator, served as chairman of the six-town cable advisory committee, which negotiated the license extension.
A new plan for a dangerous intersection
The state Department of Transportation (DOT) will redesign and rebuild both the intersection of Old County and State Roads and perhaps the bridge over Mill Brook in North Tisbury. Both efforts are long delayed and badly needed. The Old County-State Road intersection is problematic, even with the addition of lane delineators, which were installed following the most recent traffic accident at this dangerous spot. The bridge over Mill Brook is narrow, at a swooping curve in State Road, and it is nightmarish to contemplate when happenstance brings a big truck and a big SUV together over the brook at the same instant. But it is also lovely, historically familiar, and in need of careful redesign and construction.
West Tisbury had good news from the DOT, in the form of a plan to create a T-shaped intersection where there is now a fork edging obliquely into heavily traveled State Road. The DOT plan appears to reflect sincere attention to the appearance of the remade intersection, as well as to the safety improvements that must be made.
For the Mill Brook crossing, there is reason to hope that, if funds could be found and made available from the state, the bridge might be widened – it needs widening – and fitted with less modern looking guard rails. The bridge does not require replacement, according to DOT, but widening is necessary and ought to be a priority.