Bike paths will mean longer ferry lines


To the Editor:

The December 31 Martha’s Vineyard Times article about the Chappy bike path controversy might lead the reader to believe that my comments, as printed, suggest that I would prefer to exclude, or limit, bicycles here on Chappy. Anyone who knows me knows that I am not exclusionary. I personally think that Chappy is a great place to visit or to live, and I encourage the public to enjoy it.

The point I thought I had made with the reporter is as follows. I believe that a lot of the people who were originally asked if they liked the idea of a bike path had little time to think about the concept prior to answering yes. In my opinion, once they take the time to think this idea through, they will come to the understanding that there are ramifications associated with the completion of any stage of a bike path here that are by no means positive from their perspective.

Many people complain about enduring long wait times at the Chappy ferry. The proponents can say that vehicle traffic will be reduced by encouraging people to ride bikes here, and that it takes no more time to load the ferry with bicycle riders. The truth is that it takes a comparatively long time to queue up bicycle riders, load them one-at-a-time, smush them safely to make room for a vehicle, unload them one at a time, then get them out of the way for the boat to be reloaded for the return trip. More time loading and unloading equates to longer waiting in line and longer lines.

So, my point with the reporter was that bicycle clubs and bicycle enthusiasts are always looking for a new bicycle destination. I believe Chappy would be a great bicycle destination if we construct a bike path here. To support my argument I’d like to call attention to the dramatic changes in the last two to three years at Cape Pogue. On any day, from spring until late fall, there can be as many as 30 to 50 boaters who have beached their boats just inside the gut, and up to 20 kite boarders zipping back and forth. Cape Pogue has become a destination site for boaters and kite boarders.

I don’t object to long ferry lines, and I don’t mind waiting while our ferry captains safely load bicycle groups on the boats. I just think that one of those ramifications I refer to is the likeliness of longer ferry lines and longer waiting in those lines.

Bob Clay