$4.7 million approved for Beach Road — and more

Signs and yellow tape outside of Wicked Martha's on Beach Road show where the sidewalk would go. — Gabrielle Mannino

Every Island town is in line to receive funding through a “An Act Financing Improvements to Municipal Roads and Bridges,” which was approved June 6, according to a press release from state Rep. Dylan Fernandes, D-Falmouth.

Included among the projects funded is $4.7 million for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation to fund a shared-use path (SUP) on Beach Road in Vineyard Haven. The project has been controversial because some property owners on Beach Road say the need to take land by eminent domain would hurt their businesses and residences.

In November, Tisbury selectmen reversed their support for the SUP in favor of a symmetrical design, but MassDOT has said they’re too far along in the process to make a substantial change, selectmen chair Melinda Loberg said.

In an email, Fernandes wrote that he is aware of the back and forth between the town and the state. “Yes, yes, they’ve been working on it for many years now, and my understanding is that it has gone through several iterations,” he wrote.

Loberg said the board did vote unanimously at a recent meeting to allow an easement on town property that would avoid a larger taking from the Packer property.

“I am [happy],” said Loberg, who has been a proponent of the SUP. “I don’t speak for the rest of the town. Overall, it’s going to be a good thing for the town. It’s fixing a road that’s in deplorable shape. We have abutters along the road who are starting to stir and improve their properties. It’s a much-needed project … We have a compromise solution.”
The approved funding also includes $2.5 million to extend a SUP from Lagoon Pond Drawbridge on Beach Road Northerly onto Eastville Road, terminating at County Road and connecting to another shared-use path.

“Beach Road is a staple in the Vineyard community for residents and visitors alike,” said Fernandes in the release. “These scheduled upgrades go a long way in improving the safety and accessibility of this road by shoring up designated bike and pedestrian ways as well as shared-use pathways.”

The bill also included so-called Chapter 90 funds for each of the Island towns:
Chilmark: $65,551

Aquinnah: $35,404

Edgartown: $238,696

Oak Bluffs: $194,802

Tisbury: $141,963

West Tisbury: $81,581


  1. I hope people realize that 4.7m is nothing when compared to the revenue these businesses along Beach Rd will lose. Interesting that they won’t take Packers land…hmmm, perhaps he has the money to fight them? All while the other businesses take it where the sun don’t shine. I’m all for improving the road ( notice they’ve let it go to pot to increase the public’s approval) but a sidewalk is the better answer. Too bad the Selectmen were asleep at the inception of this. Maybe if Loberg was more interested in the business community rather just tourism, Beach Rd would have a better future. Shame on her and the previous select people

Comments are closed.