To the Editor:
The present plan for the shared use path was created in 2008 and published in 2009 under the title “Pre-Feasibility Study” by GPI Inc. This gives the impression that what was done was a study, which is false. There has never been a study done, but there was that document which attempted to figure out a way to create an integrated and connected shared use path.
The Martha’s Vineyard Commission touts the Beach Road corridor as linking all the paths on the Island, and that it is essential. However, nothing could be further from the truth. It does not link anything together whatsoever, and instead it terminates once it leaves the drawbridge. The issue then becomes one of, Where does the termination occur?
There are several choices. One choice is to have the path terminate at Wind’s Up or in the area just before the shipyard. This is problematic, as no one knows what would happen if cyclists are funneled to this area and then have to make choices as to where to go, and it is not easy to understand or predict what the outcome will be. Another choice is for it to terminate at Five Corners, and a third choice is to have it terminate at the location that is presently opted for, which is at the point where the Tisbury Marketplace and Shell station are.
In all cases, there is a desire to try to extend the path somehow to Lagoon Pond Road.
If the SUP was allowed to terminate at Five Corners, there are many experts who agree that this would be the safest and best option. However, Tristan Israel is dead-set against this option because he is. He gives no reason, just his desire to not allow it. That is a fatally bad decision on the part of one selectmen.
The town wants to widen the road to 43 feet from its present 40-foot right of way. It does not want to use the full 40-foot right of way on both sides, but to take land from the south side in one section of the road, and in another section to take it from the other side. So everyone is harmed in this plan. There is the issue of taking land equally if there is eminent domain, and a basic issue of fairness. There is no attention to fairness by the selectmen.
If the SUP were to continue directly to Five Corners, there could be an eight-foot wide SUP on the south side, as they wish, but it could go straight to Five Corners. This way there would be no intersection created, and the fact that it passes by curb cuts would not be a problem because in the section where it is problematic, there would be two other bike paths provided. All experienced cyclists could travel within the 4.5-foot-wide travel lanes all the way to Five Corners and from Five Corners, and there would be no walk light needed, nor would traffic be stopped incessantly as folks were forced to cross the road. It is such a simple and elegant solution. It is completely ignored by our selectmen. The actual construction should cost less than $1 million. So far it is five to six times that expense, and this is the goal.
The goal should be safety and common sense. None exists in this plan.