Monitoring needed to combat trash along Edgartown roads
Members of the Edgartown byways committee described to the selectmen Monday what they said is a big problem with garbage accumulating along the many unpaved paths between the Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road and West Tisbury Road and in other areas.
The committee estimated it may have three or four dump trucks full of trash near the byways, committee chairman William Bassett said. The sheriff's department has offered to provide volunteers to clean up the paths on a Saturday, he said, and a town truck would be needed to take the refuse to the dump.
The committee also plans to organize a neighborhood watch group and byway wardens to help monitor and report problems along the paths. Mr. Bassett said at least 30 people have already agreed to serve as wardens, who would be sworn in and serve as shellfish wardens do.
"We need to educate the public that these are public ways," Mr. Bassett said. The committee would also like to get District of Critical Planning (DCPC) designations for all the byways, which the members believe would also help keep the paths cleaner. They said they noticed that other paths with the DCPC designation are more protected and freer of debris.
Pamela Dolby, the selectmen's executive secretary, said the process for DCPC designation would be for the committee to nominate byways as DCPCs, take the list to the Martha's Vineyard Commission, then to a town meeting for approval.
Police Officer James Craig, who is working with the committee on byway issues, said recreational vehicles, such as dirt bikes, are the biggest problem on the paths.
"We can't catch the dirt bikes; they're not safe and they're not good for the environment," he said. He also suggested that the wardens could be people who live near the paths.
Mr. Bassett said there are at least 14 byways, sometimes called "ancient ways," including Middle Line, Pennywise Path, Tar Kiln Path, Three-Cornered Rock Road and Quenomica Road. At least two of them, Wood Road and Ben Toms Road, allow four-wheel-drive vehicles.
At selectwoman Margaret Serpa's suggestion, the committee agreed to give a list of interested byway wardens to Mr. Craig, who will discuss with the committee its role in policing the paths.
In other business Monday, highway superintendent Stuart Fuller said the first phase of the North Water Street underground utilities project should begin soon with the installation of conduits.
Mr. Fuller said this phase should be completed in May. The second phase will involve restoring the streets and sidewalks that will be dug up. In the fall, the utility companies will install the wires in the conduits to get the new power running for the residents and businesses.
"Hopefully, it's a model for other neighborhoods in town, especially Main Street," Mr. Fuller said.