New Tisbury stop signs at Main and Woodlawn surprise drivers

An electronic billboard and a warning sign alert drivers to new stop signs placed at the intersection of Main Street and Woodlawn Avenue in Vineyard Haven last week. — Photo by Nelson Sigelman

Drivers on Tisbury’s Main Street need to be on the lookout and prepared to stop at the intersection of Woodlawn Avenue. Last week, the new stop signs caught many motorists, several of whom drove right past, by surprise.

On Monday, a portable electronic billboard and a stop sign warning sign, placed about 40 yards in advance of the intersection, alerted drivers to the change.

Tisbury selectmen approved the signs following a public hearing on October 2, held in response to requests from several residents and Vineyard Haven Public Library trustees. Stop sign proponents expressed concerns about speeding traffic through the intersection and the safety of pedestrians, including children from Grace Church Preschool and seniors who live in Havenside Apartments, as they walk to the library.

“Once cars head up Main Street from town and make that slight turn at Woodlawn Avenue, many seem to view the straightaway that looms in front of them as a chance to try out for the Indy 500,” library trustee Pamela Street, who lives near the intersection, wrote in an email urging community members to attend the stop sign hearing.

“I often tend to landscaping needs in the front of our house and am amazed at the speed of passing vehicles, be they of the 2- or 4-wheel variety. As I watch the numerous patrons of our library exit and enter its front door, I fear for their safety, especially the younger ones who are apt to be more carefree about crossing the street on foot or via a skateboard.”

The selectmen also approved the addition of crosswalks at the intersections of Pine and Lake Streets, and Midland Avenue and Summer Street.

The Mass DOT’s “Manuel of Uniform Traffic Control devices and the standard municipal traffic code,” section 10A-4, states, “The purpose of the Stop Sign is to designate right-of-way to vehicles making conflicting movements. It is not intended, nor shall it be used for the control of speed, traffic calming or to forestall pedestrian, rear-end or turning movement accidents.”