Updated March 1.
Tisbury selectmen voted Wednesday to send a letter to MassDOT supervising project manager Thomas Currier expressing their majority support for a symmetrical road layout for the extensive Beach Road project.
Selectmen sent Currier a letter outlining their issues and concerns with a shared-use path (SUP) on Nov. 30, but said they were “surprised and disappointed” that they had not received a reply back requesting a symmetrical design.
The letter states that a symmetrical design would improve traffic safety, minimize property takings, and be cheaper than the SUP.
Selectmen voted 2-0 to send the letter. Selectman Melinda Loberg, an advocate for the SUP, was present via phone call, but could not vote. In a conversation with The Times, Loberg clarified her position and said she did not support the letter, but wanted a written response from DOT. At a Feb. 14 meeting, she joined the board in a unanimous vote to send the letter.
It’s been a slow march to sending the follow-up letter. At a Jan. 19 meeting, Israel said the board had not heard from MassDOT and if they didn’t within two weeks, he’d put the issue on the board’s agenda for further discussion.
That meeting came and went without any further discussion until the Feb. 14 meeting.
Chairman Tristan Israel said he originally supported a symmetrical design. Israel then supported the SUP after a compromise, and changes to its design were made. Once he saw the state’s final plan for the design, he said it was not the plan he supported. Israel added that little communication with Currier over the past year further swayed him to once again support the original symmetrical design.
Selectman Jim Rogers, who voted with Israel in favor of sending the letter and going with the symmetrical design, said he was disappointed in Currier’s lack of communication. “He owes the town of Tisbury the courtesy of a response,” Rogers said.
In other business, Israel also signed off on a letter to Rep. Dylan Fernandes opposing the Martha’s Vineyard Housing Bank. Tisbury joined Edgartown in endorsing a letter approved by Oak Bluffs Tuesday that opposed the Housing Bank.
“The Tisbury selectmen are in opposition to the petition to establish the Martha’s Vineyard Housing Bank,” the letter states.
Updated to add clarified position from selectman Melinda Loberg. — Ed.