The Five Corners question

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To the Editor:

Is it preferable to bike directly into Five Corners to get to the Steamship Authority, or is it better, as the Martha’s Vineyard Commission is planning to do, to create an “alternate route”?

What is, then, the alternate route?

This plan, shrouded in secrecy, for which they have been getting easements since 2010 and got another key easement in 2018, is this: The MVC thinks that cyclists should not go directly to the SSA from Beach Road. Instead, the plan they have created terminates a shared-use path at the Tisbury Marketplace. Because it terminates at that point, there is the need for cyclists to cross Beach Road in front of traffic at the point where the Shell station vehicles exit. This is insanity.

They know it. They have known it since 2008, when they hatched this plan.

So, they created an alternate route. The MVC believes, and our planning board in Tisbury believes, that all cyclists can be rerouted and avoid crossing the road. They will put in a stoplight at the Tisbury Marketplace. They will attempt to seize a property adjacent to Beach Road restaurant. They have convinced the town of Tisbury to do the seizing by eminent domain of the Nelson property, which abuts the Lagoon.

The funding for the eminent domain was on the town warrant this spring. The finance committee reviewed it and voted against it 6-0. The article was withdrawn …

These are facts that are hidden from the public eye.

Once they get the property, the plan is to put in bicycle racks and encourage cyclists to get off their bikes and walk into town. To entice them further, they plan to put in food trucks. But they also want to create a bike path. This bike path would begin at the Nelson property, and cyclists would go past the Beach Road restaurant in front of their windows that now look out on a peaceful grass meadow with flowers and the lagoon.

Instead, there will be a bike path. It will go past Ferry Boat Island, and there are nesting oystercatchers and other wildlife there that would be disturbed. From there the path goes in front of the Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard windows. I have donated many paintings to Hospice, and have spent time in that office. This is not right.

From there the path goes around back, and must negotiate past installed utilities and parking, and a fence from which, if they are able to get that far, will then lead into Mugwump. At that point, Gannon & Benjamin will be forced by easement or eminent domain to surrender land and their spar shed. The path will go where the spar shed was, and travel over wetlands, where it will emerge into Prime Marine. Then it will travel through dwellings, and cross Lagoon Pond Road and enter Veteran’s Park.

From there it will go to Cumberland Farms and cross yet another road. It will then negotiate its way up Cromwell Lane.

The town of Tisbury has obtained $347,000 from the state of Massachusetts. From what I can gather, they will use these funds to facilitate travel from the SSA to Cromwell Lane, where it will connect to Veteran’s Park by crossing the road again, and another stoplight will likely be needed. The town of Tisbury apparently got the funds by conning the commonwealth, telling them they were creating a “Harborfront Cultural District.” This district along the harborfront is already subject to the failed Waterfront Commercial Bylaw, which prohibits any form of cultural activity within 100 feet of the water.

Once they take these funds and prepare that juncture, the cyclists will proceed up to the town parking lot at Stop & Shop, travel through the parking lot, cross the road one more time, take a left, and arrive at the Steamship Authority. The planning board estimates that this journey will take 1.5 minutes longer than the direct route, which incidentally I timed, and takes 30 seconds by bike.

This is their plan.

And all of this is because they believe that cyclists should not be in Five Corners. However, anyone should be able to see that this plan is futile. The cyclists will be forced to cross the road, approximately $7 million will have been wasted, properties seized, properties damaged, properties ruined, our beautiful shade trees cut down, and why?

Why?

The MassDOT will host a meeting at 7 pm at Katharine Cornell Theater on the proposed shared-use path.

 

Frank Brunelle
Vineyard Haven