To the Editor:
We write as residents of the commonwealth of Massachusetts, customers of the Steamship Authority, visitors to Falmouth and Martha’s Vineyard.
We object to the Steamship Authority’s currently proposed design of a large-scale and high new terminal building in Woods Hole village.
The new terminal building will obstruct traditional water views from Woods Hole village, and occupies an inordinate amount of space in the middle of what will be a congested location.
The existing terminal buildings of Vineyard Haven (which will handle the same number of passengers as the Woods Hole terminal during much of the year), Oak Bluffs, Hyannis, and Nantucket serve as much more modest and suitable architectural examples for the new Woods Hole terminal.
There are other locations on the Woods Hole Steamship Authority property where employee offices could be located without the need for such a single large-scale building: 1) within the existing building above the ticket shed and next to the employee parking lot, 2) on other space on the southern perimeter of the property.
Future ticketing will be largely electronic, and obviates the need for such a large ticket office.
Elevated cameras, not elevated offices, are also the future. The SSA board recently approved the large expense of a new Operations and Communication Center, to be located and staffed remotely in the administration building in Falmouth.
We remind the Steamship Authority that according to its Enabling Act, the Steamship Authority’s mission is to “be in all respects for the benefit of the people of the commonwealth, for the increase of their commerce and prosperity, and for the improvement of their health and living conditions …”
The Enabling Act does not give the SSA a right to make decisions that negatively impact our quality of life, especially in this case, when there are viable alternatives.
It is our commonwealth, too.
On behalf of 1,250 petitioners, approximately one-third of whom are Vineyard residents; the petition and individual comments accompanying the petition are available at steamshipauthority.info.