Edgartown to explore Meshacket Road bike path options

A painted bike lane like the one through downtown Oak Bluffs could be a possible solution for Edgartown.— Photo by Michael Cummo

Edgartown selectmen are soliciting volunteers to join a newly formed Meshacket bike path committee that will be tasked with evaluating options for constructing a bike path on Meshacket Road, a popular bypass route for cyclists that begins by Morning Glory Farm and leads to downtown Edgartown and Katama.

Edgartown residents have repeatedly expressed a desire for a new bike path over the past two years, selectmen chairman Michael Donaroma said in a phone conversation with The Times on Wednesday. Initial explorations of the idea ran into some problems.

“We appropriated some money to do some surveying and find out what the town owns, and what the feasibility is to do that. It’s gotten complicated, because the road isn’t as wide as we expected it to be,” Mr. Donaroma said.

To make sure that the idea does not lose ground, selectmen will appoint a committee. Members will be asked to look at all options for a bike path on the street, including identifying solutions and deterrents. Mr. Donaroma said that at this point, any idea for a bike path is an option.

“We’re looking at possibilities of maybe running it a different way and working with some of the landowners,” he said. “Anything is up for grabs.”

Mr. Donaroma referenced the possibility for a bike lane partitioned into the road, as it is now, as an option.

“We’re just trying to find a way to do it,” he said.

He hopes a plan can be presented as soon as next year’s annual town meeting. Safety on Meshacket Road seemed to be the top priority of the bike path proponents, Mr. Donaroma said.

On this year’s town ballot is a Proposition 2.5 override that asks for $210,000 in additional taxes to construct a bike path on Meetinghouse Way, which Mr. Donaroma said would create an additional cut-through between downtown and the Katama area of Edgartown.

At last year’s annual town meeting, the vote was 158-32 in favor of paving Meetinghouse Way, including an amendment that required the bike path proposal for the street be on this year’s warrant.

Those interested in joining the Meshacket Bike Path Committee must submit a letter to the selectmen’s office at P.O. Box 5158, Edgartown, MA 02539, or email selectmen@edgartown-ma.us not later than 4 pm on April 15.