Martha’s Vineyard Commission counts summer traffic

A traffic counter counts vehicles at Main Street and State Road in Vineyard haven. — Photo by Janet Hefler

Is summer traffic on Martha’s Vineyard really double or triple the winter amount? How many trips do cars make through the Five Corners intersection or around downtown Vineyard Haven?

The Martha’s Vineyard Commission (MVC) is conducting summer traffic counts using a variety of equipment to provide numbers to answer those questions.

“We actually have two permanent locations, one out on New York Avenue [in Oak Bluffs] and one in West Tisbury,” MVC transportation planner Priscilla Leclerc told The Times in a phone call Wednesday. “And then we’re focusing a little bit on Vineyard Haven to try to update the traffic data in and around Five Corners, partly related to Stop & Shop, and partly at the town’s request.”

The MVC, the Island’s planning and regional permitting body, began its formal review of Stop & Shop Supermarket Company’s plans to nearly double the size of its Vineyard Haven store at a public hearing on July 11. How the expansion will affect traffic at the already congested Five Corners intersection, parking in Vineyard Haven, and traffic flow around town were the main concerns expressed. The continued public hearing is scheduled to resume at 7 pm, August 1 at the Tisbury Senior Center.

Ms. Leclerc said the MVC plans to wrap up the Vineyard Haven traffic counts this week. Five counters have been collecting data in locations on Beach Road, Water Street, and State Road, just north of the Main Street intersection.

Traffic counts conducted year-round by the MVC at the Oak Bluffs and West Tisbury locations are used to compare differences in seasonal traffic, Ms. Leclerc said. “And traffic actually can vary within a season quite a bit, too, depending on the different events,” she added.

Ms. Leclerc said she would compile the traffic numbers and also look at previous counts to compare data and look at trends. Although she is new to Vineyard traffic analysis, Ms. Leclerc served as the senior transportation planner with the Cape Cod Commission, where she worked for 20 years. She joined the MVC staff on June 5 to replace former transportation planner Mike Mauro.