To the Editor
Being a 20-year resident of South Main Street, I have watched the traffic in this two-block radius grow to absolutely insane, unhealthy proportions. Watching this the other day, a very good solution came to mind, in fact it’s already pretty much in place.
I realized that probably 30-40 percent of the cars that I was seeing stuck in traffic weren’t getting on the boat. They were picking up or dropping off passengers. If you watch the hundreds of people on foot pour on and off the boats, they all have to get to the boat to leave the Island, and then there are those who need get to where they are going on the Island. I thought of all the cars it takes to do that. Unnecessary.
Let’s turn the Park and Ride up on the hill going out of town to a Pickup and Drop station for the 3-4 summer months. Basically, that’s what it is. It just needs good, temporary shelter to get it going. The road must be configured better up there for pickup and drop-off, with buses that would run every eight minutes, which we have (even use some school buses). Then cut that road that was approved and voted on from the Edgartown–Vineyard Haven Road by the bank, with the express purpose of connecting it to the new Pickup and Drop station.
I would imagine that everybody from up Island picking up and dropping off guests would love not to get into the mess on this road, which by the way is killing Vineyard Haven businesses. They could simply go up to the Pickup and Drop station, which is the road in front of the old video/radio shack store location. The residents of Oak Bluffs and Edgartown would use the new road. The drivers would also have the option of parking their cars and riding the shuttle buses with their guests. They could do a little shopping in town without their cars. There also would be no long-term parking there for the summer months.
Imagine one bus with 40 or so passengers versus the 15 or so cars it would take to get them to and from the boat. Even if you were running late, you would still get there quicker than sitting in traffic for 20 minutes, and once this took hold there wouldn’t be as much traffic for the buses. This is a version of the Palmer Avenue lot over in Woods Hole.
So who would pay for this? The Steamship Authority, of course, because who is making the money off all the passengers? The Steamship Authority, of course. They could use that embarkation fund, which no one seems to know about or where it goes. I believe that 50 cents a head of every single person on the boat is supposed to go into a fund for the negative impact the ferries have on the town.
A big P.S. here, the Roundabout is a complete failure. Going through the old 4-way stop is a dream now, but the issue always was, too many cars on one road. The Roundabout just put them in both towns, Edgartown and Vineyard Haven, much quicker, so they all pile up going into the towns. You need miles and miles after a roundabout for all the cars to disperse. My answer to that problem was use the roads we have. Use the County Road for all cars traveling to and from Edgartown and Vineyard Haven and go over the new bridge. That way all that traffic wouldn’t even get near the old 4-way stop.