To the Editor:
The stop sign at the corner of Greenwood and Main Street in Vineyard Haven has been removed. This sign was erected in October 2012, as an important safety measure to slow traffic along parallel parking in front of the Vineyard Haven library, and to allow safe pedestrian crossing from the library to the bus stop on the other side of Main. This was endorsed by the selectmen, based on the recommendation of the then Public Works director, Fred LaPiana.
In place for five years, this stop sign (together with another stop sign at the corner of Woodlawn and Main) has proven extremely effective in slowing traffic along this vulnerable stretch of Main Street. Just ask library patrons (especially those with small children), library staff, and the library trustees, as well as neighbors in the vicinity. Nevertheless, in July 2015, selectman Larry Gomez proposed that the stop sign be removed. He claimed at the time that up to 90 percent of cars ran the stop sign. Ninety percent? Frankly, this was pure fabrication. I personally spent a couple of hours at Greenwood and Main counting and documenting. While there were a number of cars which did flout the sign, slowing way down to do it, actual running of the sign was negligible, less than 2 percent.
So now Mr. Gomez has been at it again. He’s gotten himself on the so-called Traffic and Roadway Safety Committee. This committee has cited state law, which says that stop signs may not be used to control traffic speed. So there you have it. Even though the signs have been in place for five years without DOT comment, our own Traffic Safety Committee is employing what amounts to a legal technicality to negatively impact citizen safety on one of Tisbury’s major streets.
One more question here. The stop signs at Woodlawn and Main have not been removed. I applaud this, of course, but am wondering why these signs are apparently not also deemed to be “illegal.” They were placed at the same time as the Greenwood and Main sign, specifically in order to slow down traffic passing Havenside. Why have they not been removed along with the one at Greenwood and Main? In a Sept. 30, 2015, article in The MV Times reporting on this matter, the reporter points out that Larry Gomez “lives on Greenwood Avenue,” in fact just two doors down from the stop sign in question. Whether this has somehow influenced Gomez’s ongoing efforts to get rid of the stop sign is a matter of conjecture.