Too big

Too big

by -

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.

Dana Hodsdon

Vineyard Haven


  1. The notion that we still live in a quaint village is an anachronism. Perhaps 40 years ago that case could still be reasonably made, but no longer. Summer now begins at Easter and ends after New Year’s.

      1. 47 parking spaces added, how many more jobs and taking care of the public restroom. Enough already!

    1. what ? The summer season is from Easter to “after” New years ?
      perhaps you are starting to believe 99.9 % of scientific research about climate change. I wouldn’t even go that far yet , but I am impressed that you have had such a radical transformation of opinion about climate change.

      1. A smattering of hyperbole for effect. But in all seriousness, don’t you remember back when after Labor Day you could fire the cliché cannon down the main streets in VH, OB and ED without worry?

  2. If I must drive to shop on Main Street, I park in the Water Street lot. The supermarket does not monopolize the parking lot, that’s for the shoppers to decide.

    Has Ahold shown “donkey-like resistance to scaling back” the building? Absolutely not.

    Mentioning “the ultimate noise from the cooler motors, trucks, etc.” is pointless. The store is across the street from the ferry dock. No impact on Five Corners.

    A “shortsightedness … how much money will have to be spent … just to deal with the Five Corners and other intersections … ?”That’s a masterful understatement by the writer as it seems very likely she is one of the small percentage of Tisbury residents doing their utmost to ensure no money is spent at all.

  3. I, like many other locals, will probably not visit this location during the summer unless I have at least an hour and a half set aside for grocery shopping.
    It’s hard enough to get into the post office.

    I wish they would take this opportunity to move the location somewhere better suited.

    1. if you can get into the post office, you can get to the stop and shop. unless you are 95 years old and have Parkinson’s disease, or some other debilitating condition.
      but, really, if you are capable of walking, and can get to the p.o parking lot, like 98 % of the population, why wouldn’t you just walk from the po lot to the stop and shop ?

      1. I was trying to point out how hard it already is to get to the post office and how I believe it will be even harder to get into stop and shop.

      2. I agree about the walking but there is a 15 minute parking limit at the post office…I’m not 100% sure it’s 15 it could be 10, I just know you have enough time to run in to the post office and pray that there isn’t a long line!

  4. Monolithic? LOL. Have you seen their neighbors? The police station? The Mansion House? The proposed new Cronigs donated building? They are right in scale with the proposed Stop and Shop.

    Scare tactics.

    C00ler motors and trucks are louder now with the ancient technology that sits and powers and runs that building. Truck noise is being moved inside to a new dock, no outdoor parking of that trailer truck. It will be quieter and cleaner. Welcome indeed.

  5. Does anyone consider the fact that the new larger Island Home with it’s larger payload of vehicles may be a substantial part of the increased traffic? Would islanders be in favor of more smaller vessels that are more seaworthy and offer more options for travel off island or do islanders enjoy the Island Home format more for the fact that it is spacious and has lots of flat panel televisions and space? Just wondering. And if islanders in general favor smaller vessels and more trips would that in fact alleviate traffic to some extent or not?

    1. As you say, smaller vessels and more trips. Right now let’s say it’s 14 transits of 48 vehicles apiece, 72 minutes apart. After it might be 21 transits of 32 vehicles apiece, 46 minutes apart. The same number of vehicles will debark on the island in one day. With smaller boats, the traffic backups at Five Corners will occur more times each day but for shorter periods… and ferry prices will be higher.

  6. Now that we are in the new year, let’s think about how to make things different and better for living in Vineyard Haven in the summer. Let’s get a discussion going about traffic mitigation measures. Here are some thoughts:
    It would require some study, but could we fit a roundabout at five corners? Could trucks manage to navigate it?
    Enforce the posted speed limit of 20mph going towards five corners on State Road at the Edgartown Road intersection. A traffic light or an electronic sign there would help to allow cars turning left off the Edgartown Road. A traffic light would be better, but some people have a severe aversion to them! They see visions of big box stores like Super Stop and Shops…oops.
    We could get people out of their cars at Park n Ride. Make it user friendly with a terminal for purchasing tickets, a cafe, and rest rooms. People going to/from the ferry could then take the shuttle. Could the SSA help with this?
    Encourage people to walk.
    Why can’t Vineyard Haven do more things with the embarkation fee money to mitigate summer traffic? After reading the list of current proposals it doesn’t seem to change anything.
    Lastly, it’s good advice to never go to, or through, V.H. in the summer without checking the SSA schedule first. Keep one on your visor. and PLEASE walk if you can.

    Marie Laursen

    P.S. Ever try driving at 20mph down State Road?

    1. “Now that we are in a new year…”??

      How about all the past years, not to mention taxpayer dollars, spent by Town employees/committees/boards doing precisely what you suggest starting now? Motivated by citizens like you who have been asking for years for solutions to this traffic quagmire, and with the help of professionals,they delivered a solid albeit imperfect plan – much more than just a start or a
      Band-Aid, but by their own admission not the end to the problem.

      Regrettably, some who spoke in opposition to the connector road offered opinions as facts, misinformation all together, and threats. Still, a solid majority of Town voters cast their votes in favor of the project this past December. Unfortunately, not quite enough to reach the two-thirds majority required. Now we are sitting idle, spinning our wheels (two puns intended), without a shred of progress.

      During your discussions I am certain you will also come to realize there is no perfect solution, one that satisfies all. Perhaps then you will change course and join those in favor of the only viable plan offered to date.

      Oh, and once you get your discussions going you have my empathy for the frustration you’ll likely feel when, for example, someone states as “fact” that putting in a roundabout at Five-Corners will lead to more traffic problems at the four-way stop by the O.B. fire station.; or, when someone says “Solution X” is a great idea — as long as it’s not in my backyard….

      1. JR, I hardly think the connector road ‘system’ is the only viable plan, and I do not support it. It is the only one that has been offered, but it is not the only one. I have always been against this plan, and I have always explained why, and offered other ideas. We decided against that idea TWICE last year, at the spring annual town meeting, and at the December special town meeting, and voted it down in one or two previous years. Enough, already! Please don’t ask us to rubber stamp some “professionals'” plan as though we are unable to come to our own conclusions. If you have spent any time on a town board/committee, you know that sometimes you lose, but when you win, you celebrate like crazy. That’s how it is. It’s called democracy.
        I wrote those comments deliberately to open up a conversation about what other ways we can mitigate (notice I said “mitigate,” not reduce) traffic in Vineyard Haven, in the summer! This is a seasonal issue! and, yes, I’ve already had feedback, and I’m fine with it. Why not bring ideas forward that don’t necessarily include creating roads that do not already exist? Catering to the automobile traveling public is what got us here. Let’s not be too quick to buy in to the idea of new roads that will simply perpetuate the problem.

        1. The connector road system is the only comprehensive plan
          which has been approved/reviewed by the required governmental authorities (DPW, Planning Board, Board of Selectmen, Martha’s Vineyard Commission, etc.) – accordingly, at present it is in fact the only viable plan. Anything else is just an idea.

          “We” did not decide against it twice last year and one or
          two other times. Actually, as far back as 2005, voters approved the connector road system as part of a very comprehensive master plan for the future of the Town – the CR has long been approved: since then the issue (and votes) has been how to pay for it. Perpetuating the type of misinformation you have is a most unfortunate manner to lead discourse on this problem (or any other).

          To some of your other arguments/points:

          1) This is NOT a seasonal problem. Tisbury’s failed
          road system is a year round problem.

          2) Thank you anyway, but I do not need a lesson in
          how a democracy works. But, you go ahead and celebrate your “victory” while the rest of us sit in ridiculous traffic jams because we don’t have the luxury to pick and choose the times we travel.

          3) You are free to offer ideas and, in fact, as I stated above the CR would be the start of the process to solving the Town’s traffic problems – a great start. But, there would be more to do and those who worked so hard to develop this plan have fully acknowledged this.You have to start somewhere, sometime; this problem isn’t going away.

          Based on the ideas I’ve read or heard thus far I can just see
          the following Warrant at Town Meeting this spring:

          Article 1 – vote to authorize the Town to spend $1,000,000.00
          to build a Café, ticket terminal, and rest rooms at the park and ride

          Article 2 – vote to determine whether the Café should be a
          Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts

          2 a. limit the discussion on Article 2 to no more than 6

          Article 3 – vote to limit those with second homes on MV to using them only two-weeks per summer and every other weekend in the off-season

          Article 4 – vote to require the SSA to issue a
          $500,000,000.00 bond issue to rebuild their entire fleet to smaller boats

          4 a. vote to authorize the SSA to raise ticket prices to
          fund whatever it costs to operate the new “model”

          4 b. vote to “rubber stamp” a study that somehow shows Article 4 actually works to mitigate traffic (yes, I did notice your use of the word “mitigate” instead of “reduce”, but since
          they are synonyms I’m not sure what your point is)

          Article 5 – vote to fund a study on the viability of a
          roundabout at five-corners.

          5 a. vote to “rubber stamp” this study

          Article 6 – vote to have the TPD enforce speed limits they are
          already required to enforce

          1. “JR,” whoever you are, calm down.
            Look up “mitigate.” It means to make less serious, less difficult. Look up the results of the Tisbury 2011, 2012, 2013 annual, and Dec. 2013 special town meetings. They are all “no” votes. You will not find a record of the MVC reviewing this project. They didn’t.
            I’m sorry you see this as me crowing about the vote, I certainly haven’t. Tisbury is bearing the brunt of summer vehicle and truck traffic, and it is a seasonal issue. I believe there are things that can be done to mitigate traffic without surrendering to the pressures from those who see new roads in Tisbury as the solution. Why can’t we make Iron Hill Road in Oak Bluffs a connector road? After all, it’s already there.
            I’m one of many who are opposed to the Tisbury connector road system, and I’ve explained why, and offered alternative solutions, at every town meeting. This is a spending issue that requires a two-thirds majority, and it has failed repeatedly. The town is almost evenly divided, so not everyone agrees with you.

          2. One thing I am is an adult, fully capable of calmly articulating
            my positions on issues (and supporting them with facts). Admonishing me to “calm down” isn’t going to stop me from pointing out weaknesses in your arguments, as well as identifying and correcting misinformation you are circulating in your posts.

            In the case of the MVC:

            MV Times, October 27, 2005

            The Martha’s Vineyard Commission (MVC) then reviewed the concept and concluded the road would work best with three outlets onto State Road, at Evelyn Way, High Point Lane, and
            Holmes Hole Road.

            MV Times, March 4, 2010

            The MVC prepared and presented a connector road traffic study interim report to the Tisbury Planning Board on March 16, 2005. The following November Tisbury voters approved the location of the connector road for the purpose of easing traffic congestion at the intersection of Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road and State Road.

          3. JR, fast work locating the 2005 MVC traffic study report from over eight years ago.
            To make this plan work, they said it needed to be three outlets. Trip Barnes will never allow the town to take his property, Evelyn Way, without an expensive legal battle.
            This plan is at a dead-end, no pun intended.