To the Editor,
At the public meeting in April last year, people blamed Tony’s Market for the traffic congestion and dangerous mix of cars, trucks, and pedestrians near the store. After the meeting, I thought of steps we could take, and some the town could take, to relieve the crowded and dangerous conditions.
The idea that caught on best was for the town to let large delivery trucks, which now back from the street to the rear of our parking lot, go instead to the rear of Tony’s from Winthrop Avenue. Winthrop is almost twice as wide as Dukes County Avenue (50 feet vs. 30 feet), and the trucks and our forklift will operate in a secure, fenced receiving zone not used by the public. The town would need only to extend the B-1 zone to include the Correllus lot behind Tony’s, over which we have an exclusive easement to use a 34-foot wide strip next to Bink’s Auto. Bill Correllus, who lives at 27 Winthrop, also supports the change.
At a meeting of town officials in July the chairman of the selectmen declared that the plan was a matter of public safety and should go forward. In due course, an article to re-zone the Correllus lot was drafted, referred to town counsel and inserted in the annual town meeting warrant as Article 10. It is not our article, but we are supporting it. It promotes safety on a busy part of a busy street. And it will not cost a single taxpayer dollar to do it.
Passing Article 10 is a positive step in relieving a problem on the route used by all town emergency vehicles to get uptown and downtown. It will make the daily transactions of many people much safer than it is now. Many trucks use Winthrop Avenue now, and a few more on weekdays only will barely be noticed by anyone. But everyone will notice the improvement on Dukes County Avenue.
The town needs the support of the people of Oak Bluffs at the April town meeting. I urge you to support Article 10, as included in the warrant by the selectmen.
For our part, we will vigorously enforce a rule requiring trucks to turn off their engines and refrigeration units until they are ready to leave the loading area. They do it on the ferry — they can do it at Tony’s. We will also assist any parents with small children on Winthrop Avenue, who are concerned about additional truck traffic there and who want to add fencing to their yards. We will give them five-year loans at the lowest bank rates for the full cost of any fence they wish to install. We will also make every possible effort to confine delivery trucks using Winthrop to do so only between 9 am and 1 pm, and excluding Sundays. Finally, we will cooperate with any public authority which suggests or directs a particular route for the trucks to follow to or from Winthrop Avenue.
Let us take a step together to reduce the dangerous congestion on Dukes County Avenue.