Roundabout will be a ‘disfigurement’


To the Editor:

This letter was written to the Oak Bluffs selectmen:

Well, here we are heading for court regarding the roundabout. After thinking for years that the issue was dead, that our earlier efforts at saying no to this project had been heeded, that we (your constituency) had a say via a democratic process, we find we’ve been hoodwinked.

A special town meeting on June 21, 2011 was held, and approximately 90 people attended. A majority of those voted (out of a possible 1,300-plus voters) for the Land Bank to give the easements on three of the four corners to the M.V. Commission (MVC) for a roundabout.

I’m sure the special town meeting was properly advertised. You know that section of the paper where hardly any working person has time to peruse because we’re working hard to earn a living But you know that. But what led up to that vote being on the agenda? How did the Land Bank and the MVC become partners in the development of a roundabout? Hmmm.

I’m sure your research discovered that roundabouts (or traffic circles or rotaries — all the same basically) are usually installed to slow down traffic at dangerous intersections where bodily injuries or fatalities (automobile only involved) are prevalent. Well, the stop signs have done that. You want this roundabout installed to speed up traffic flow. The current spin from you regarding safety is a weak argument based on statistics since the stop signs. Concern for safety would be a recommendation from you for a bike path on Barnes Road (from County Road to the Edgaretown Vineyard Haven Road). That project we’d all get behind. It’s green from many aspects.

This project has achieved the same popularity ratings that proposing a bridge to Woods Hole or inviting the Golden Arches to our shores would achieve. They would be disfigurements, and this project is a disfigurement that will set the precedent for future disfigurements.

I’m certain you all did your due diligence and inquired from contractors whose life is building roads, e.g., Lawrence-Lynch Corp., and what their opinions are regarding roundabouts. I did ask one of their supervisors, and his response was “They’ve been outlawed in many states for very good reasons.”

When I asked about the cost of a traffic light such as the relatively unobtrusive one coming out of Woods Hole going into Falmouth (let’s face it, folks, we’ve had a traffic light — the Blinker — at this intersection for over 30 years) this supervisor told me it was no way as costly as the proposed $1.4 million (and probably going up because we may need a pedestrian-controlled light that isn’t in this roundabout’s current plan). All of this cursory research took about five minutes of my time to find out that a “Loop Detection System” light could be installed and controlled by us for those awful weeks for far less cost and far less disfigurement than this roundabout, that is, if we really need to change what already is.

And then there’s the Environmental Impact Study, and then there’s the question of the MVC obviously being out of touch with what this community prefers.

Please remember that if we weren’t born here, we moved here because we like change, appropriate change, from what was developing “over there.” This project is from “over there,” with all the bells and whistles that attend it.

We are not children. We elected you to do our bidding.

Gregory Coogan is the only remaining official of the original board, but somehow he’s gotten three other members to drink the Coogan Cool Aid.

He could become a hero and stop this expensive and unnecessary disfigurement now.

Sandra Lippens

Oak Bluffs