To the Editor:
In response to OpEd [Op-Ed : Meeting the needs of our Vineyard Haven customers, November 14], everyone welcomes Stop & Shop New England’s efforts and interaction with the Island and Vineyard Haven. We all welcome the idea of a new, cleaner, larger store. Thank you and Stop & Shop New England for the donations, the jobs, the offer of a cleaner store, wider aisles and all the glowing attributes you listed.
Let’s be frank though, even if or when the demolishing of the existing stores and the expansion into just 50 percent of the company’s recent land purchases with the proposed retail grocery store takes place, there would still be more full-time jobs, part-time jobs, wider aisles, a cleaner store, and better stocked shelves. I don’t believe that if the store was fractionally larger that your community donations and services would dissipate.
What I and others are objecting to is the monolithic size without care to its immediate neighbors and surroundings. The impression, from the very beginning of this process of Stop & Shop New England, is the one of monopolizing the municipal parking lot, and the donkey-like resistance to scaling back and down significantly so the building fits within the parameters of a village setting; he blind eye toward the environmental impact that the Stop & Shop inadvertently will impose; and the ultimate noise from the cooler motors, trucks, etc. Let’s bring to the forefront the increase in the traffic nightmare we all will endure during peak season and even in the off season when the ferry arrives or departs.
If Stop & Shop reviews the traffic flow plans of Vineyard Haven, it will realize that Water Street is the only exit out of an area that is inundated hourly 6 am–10 pm from four major sources (three streets and a ferry) all year-round, that our municipal parking lot is packed, and that traffic is a nightmare within a one quarter to one half mile radius. Read the data not the bottom line, and Stop & Shop will realize that the size of the proposed expansion will deteriorate the quality of Vineyard Haven’s Main Street and lanes surrounding the municipal parking lot and will have a major impact on the town vehicle and pedestrian traffic. This area is too confined to absorb anymore.
Vineyard Haven is a town of 2,500 people. The Island has a nine-month residency of 17,500. Take into consideration the horrendous traffic nightmare that this town will have added to an already bad situation. There is such shortsightedness on everyone involved to how much money will have to be spent over the next decades just to deal with the Five Corners intersection and other intersections within a quarter mile radius, with policemen out directing traffic 12 hours a day. Imagine salary, overtime, and pensions. We don’t want to set up stop lights at Five Corners and other intersections within a quarter mile radius. MV is not mainland United States. No one takes the ferry from off-Island to go grocery shopping here then turns around and goes back to the mainland. This hyper store was proposed with an off-Island mentality for a population of one hundred thousand year-rounders. It is too big.
We love our town and our Island. We applaud Stop & Shop for trying to come in and make something better, but because we are confined physically by water, we ask that Stop & Shop think of us living in one of those villages and towns in the Netherlands and around Europe where Ahold have appropriately scaled stores, how they serve the villagers and the surrounding villages. Corporate needs to think outside the box and introduce a new/old idea to an American Island village.