Beach Road petition is circulating

1
Some property owners on Beach Road don't like the idea of a shared-use path. -MV Times file photo

A Beach Road property owner is once again calling on the Tisbury board of selectmen for a meeting about a shared-use path (SUP) proposed by MassDOT he thinks should be scrapped.

Frank Brunelle, who has been raising questions about the proposal for months, was out Tuesday gathering signatures on another petition that asks selectmen to reject the 100 percent design plans recently released by MassDOT for the Vineyard Haven project. The cost of the project has been estimated at $5.2 million.

“We, the undersigned, request a hearing with the selectmen to voice our disapproval of the shared-use path proposed plan, which has now reached the 100 percent design phase with no input from the people affected, which was deliberately withheld,” the petition states.

The petition objects to land being taken by eminent domain for the project, shade trees being removed, and the overall safety of the plan.

Brunelle has advocated for a symmetrical design that would improve Beach Road sidewalks and make them wider for bikes, but not provide a SUP.

The SUP plan has been touted by proponents as something that connects Vineyard Haven with Oak Bluffs for people walking or riding bicycles between the two Island towns.

Selectmen discussed the MassDOT plan briefly Tuesday night. Selectmen chairman Tristan Israel said he either wants the Martha’s Vineyard Commission to host a hearing on the 100 percent plans, or the town will hold one.

Selectman Melinda Loberg said she expects the commission will hold one in June.

“There’s a lot of anxious people on Beach Road,” selectman Jim Rogers said.

Two things the MassDOT plan fails to deal with are sea-level rise and drainage issues that plague the road during storms.