SSA is listening


To the Editor:

The Steamship Authority is trying to be responsive to public opinion. At the meeting in Vineyard Haven on Monday, they could have done a better job organizing the presentation by first defining what their constraints are — the controlling parameters of the new building: the elevation, the traffic and pedestrian pattern requirements, the codes for commercial buildings. Those things are set in stone, so to speak. Any building has to comply with governmental regulations and the practicalities of traffic control and safety.

There are conflicting stakeholders: the residents of Woods Hole, who want a minimal invasion of their village; the residents and travelers to the Vineyard, who want convenience and comfort; the general public, who want to use the building as a rest stop. All are legitimate goals. But the governmental codes and regulations have to be obeyed.

When the Steamship Authority was designing a new boat, we on the Vineyard considered them determined to do it their way despite our very real concerns about our harbor. They ignored us. This time, they are clearly making an effort to hear what we all have to say, Islanders and mainlanders alike. On the design of the new terminal, they cannot meet all of our ideals while also building to the codes.

I applaud their efforts to listen and do their best to incorporate as many of our ideas as they can. They asked with apparent real interest; we responded with passion. I don’t expect to like the new building any more than any of the other stakeholders will, but I do think it will incorporate as many of our goals and needs as it can, consistent with the limitations imposed by the government.


Polly Brown