Hybrid-hybrid Beach Road plan recommended to state

Michael Cummo

Tisbury selectman Melinda Loberg said Tuesday that the town contacted the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) following the board’s Oct. 6 vote and requested that the state move forward with a version of the “hybrid-hybrid” Beach Road plan. Ms. Loberg and chairman Tristan Israel voted for the plan; Larry Gomez voted against it, and advocated for a symmetrical road plan.

The hybrid-hybrid design includes 10.5-foot travel lanes, 4.5-foot bike lanes, and 5.5-foot sidewalks extending as far as Tisbury Marketplace from Five Corners, and a 10-foot SUP that would begin at the Marketplace and connect to the existing SUP between Wind’s Up and the Lagoon Pond drawbridge, and a future 10-foot SUP crossing over the bridge into Oak Bluffs. The vote called for a sidewalk extending as far toward the seawall on the harbor side of the road as possible.

“They had already sort of engineered [a design] up to a certain point, but they called a halt to it because we really had no agreement on the layout,” she said. “Now that we do, they will begin to actually hone in on that particular layout.”

She said the project has largely been put back into the hands of the Tisbury transportation subcommittee, and they will work with MassDOT, which will return to the town when the design phase is at the 25 percent plan point.

“The 25 percent design really has to address a lot of issues; it seems like it’s only a quarter finished, but in reality, it’s got a lot of the final points agreed upon, so we want to make sure we get it right at that point,” she said. “All this time we haven’t really been able to talk about the road elevation, the curb cuts, the features, the signage, the lighting, any of that.”

State and town planners remain uncertain whether the project can be completed on the intended timeline, she said. The project calls for $2.4 million in state and federal funding in the 2017 federal fiscal year (FY), which begins Oct. 1, 2016. The vote, after over a year of back-and-forth discussions, is undoubtedly a huge step forward in the process, Ms. Loberg said.

A face-to-face meeting with the MassDOT later this month will likely determine project timing.