Tisbury selectmen agree to continue Union Street traffic reversal

Michael Cummo

At their regular Tuesday meeting, Tisbury selectmen agreed to keep the Union Street traffic reversal going in its current direction. The Union Street experiment, which began on Sunday, Sept. 13, was designed to see if it improved traffic flow in the downtown area or relieved congestion at the Five Corners intersection. Previously, traffic flowed from Main Street to Water Street and the Vineyard Haven Steamship Authority (SSA) terminal. The one-way street now runs east to west from Water Street to Main Street.

Selectmen heard from several members of the public, who had mostly positive comments about the redirection. Former planning board member Henry Stephenson and current planning board chairman Dan Seidman suggested making it a two-way road could be a worthwhile experiment in the future.

Board of selectmen chairman Tristan Israel was concerned with the appearance of the orange barrel in the road where it meets Main Street. It is there to keep drivers on Main Street from turning the wrong direction onto Union Street, because the road curves in that direction. He proposed talking to the Department of Public Works (DPW) about temporarily squaring off that corner of the road and doing away with the barrel.

Selectmen agreed to have the planning board monitor the change over the next six months, including traffic counts currently being done by the Martha’s Vineyard Commission, and come back to selectmen with an update later in the year.

In other business, Tisbury selectmen approved holding a special town meeting at 7 pm on Jan. 12 in the Tisbury School.

Tisbury Police Lieut. Eerik Meisner gave an update on snow emergency protocol. Parking bans will be requested by the DPW, approved by Mr. Israel, and enforced by the police department. The American Red Cross and Salvation Army will continue to operate as sheltering facilities. Lieut. Meisner said they are looking to Oak Bluffs for future sheltering needs, a change that reflects a desire to create regional shelters. Selectmen agreed to have Tommy Mello from the DPW talk about snow removal efforts at a future meeting.

Selectman Melinda Loberg announced that Eversource will be working on Beach Street to complete the removal of the utility poles from the sidewalk, and will be trenching across the road to complete the conduits. That work will begin Monday, Nov. 9, and will require some lane closures.