State pitches O.B. bike path

Public hearing held to get feedback on shared-use path.



The Massachusetts Department of Transportation held a hearing Tuesday evening for $2.5 million shared-use path (SUP) designs commissioned by Oak Bluffs. The designs mark the first phase of three linked paths Oak Bluffs plans. 

The paths are geared to create safe bicycle lanes that extend from the Lagoon Pond Bridge, through downtown Oak Bluffs, and to the existing bike path that starts on Sea View Avenue and travels across Beach Road toward Edgartown. The paths will also link up with a similar shared-use path project underway on the other side of the bridge in Vineyard Haven. The first phase of the path project begins at the bridge and extends to the intersection of County Road and Eastville Avenue. Oak Bluffs has funded $85,000 in studies and commissioned Greenman-Pedersen, Inc. (GPI), to execute the initial design. The commonwealth will foot the construction bill, and any tweaks to the design going forward. Federal money will help. Uncle Sam will take 80 percent of the burden, the commonwealth 20 percent. Construction is slated to begin in December 2020. 

John Osorio, GPI Wilmington office director of highway engineering, told those gathered at the Oak Bluffs library his company has been working with Oak Bluffs since 2014 to craft the project. The total length of the first phase of the path is 0.7 miles, he said. Osorio said the lack of a bicycle path in the phase one area and the lack of connectivity to other parts of Oak Bluffs were impetuses for the project. 

MassDOT civil engineer Tom Currier told the audience Osorio and his team had good past project results on-Island. He said they designed the roundabout on Edgartown–Vineyard Haven Road. The audience applauded. 

“I just wanted to say I support this project 100 percent,” former Oak Bluffs selectman Walter Vail said. 

“I welcome this. I think it’s wonderful,” Oak Bluffs resident David Wilson said.

Dukes County associate commissioner for disabilities Dick Cohen, who described himself as a walker, runner, and cyclist, said he was curious about conceptual designs for the next phase, where the path extends “into the heart of Oak Bluffs.” 

Oak Bluffs selectman Greg Coogan said that phase hasn’t been hashed out yet. 

Maura McGoarty asked that the path width remain consistent. 

Oak Bluffs selectman Jason Balboni asked if a particular section of the design was raised to deter parking. 

Currier said yes, there’s a 6-inch elevation.

Martha’s Vineyard Commission executive director Adam Turner said practically and aesthetically, barriers along certain sections of the pathway would be better as fences than berms or other natural barriers. 

The written record was left open at the close of the hearing. “Written statements and other exhibits in place of, or in addition to, oral statements made at the Public Hearing regarding the proposed undertaking are to be submitted to Patricia A. Leavenworth, P.E., Chief Engineer, MassDOT, 10 Park Plaza, Boston, MA 02116, Attention: Roadway Project Management, Project File No.608142,” according to a MassDOT handout. “Mailed statements and exhibits intended for inclusion in the public hearing/meeting transcript must be postmarked no later than ten (10) business days after this Public Hearing. Project inquiries may be emailed to”



  1. This is awesome. OB moving forward with a strong voice. We’ll have our SUP up and going long before Tisbury can figure out how to spell SUP.

    • Tisbury’s neglect of it’s pedestrian infrastructure is a disgrace, its dangerous, unwelcoming and resembles a third world country. From the Jersey Barriers at Wind’s Up parking lot to the pot holes and trash on city streets Tisbury or Vineyard Haven not only has an image problem but a huge attitude problem. Some body tell the selectmen the town in a Tourist Destination not a war zone.

  2. A great place to put a bike path. As mopeds inevitably get phased out, and more people turn to E-bikes, a safe bike path is essential. one thing I don’t like is the 6 inch raised elevation. If there is any kind of collision on the path or an attempt to avoid a pedestrian that may be looking at their phone while wearing headphones , and wandering from side to side for instance , a lower curb gives a bicyclist a possible option to go to the street. At 6 inches, the bicycle has no chance of staying upright. Let me remind the designers here of the tragic accident in V.H a few years back, where a woman riding a bike, fell off the curb, and directly under a truck. I think a high curb to “deter parking” is not in the best interest of safety. How does a 6 inch curb accomplish anything a 2 inch curb does not ?

    • Point of clarification, that tragic accident was because she fell off the curb of the SIDEWALK, where it is never safe or legal to ride a bike.

      • B4jaws– Thank you for clarifying my comment. It is quite true that she fell off the sidewalk, sorry if I did not make that clear. Thank you also for pointing out it is illegal to ride on the sidewalk. I think most people don’t know that.
        If you look at rendering # 1 you can see what I am concerned about. If that curb is 6 inches high, and a bike has to go off it to avoid something on the bike path, or has lost control for any reason , it is not going to be pretty. I just don’t see what a 6 inch high curb accomplishes. The article states that high curb is to “deter parking.”— Really ? “Also, some people prefer to ride in the road, which of course they are free to do. A bike path does not exclude you from legally riding in the road. Given the sometimes erratic behaviour of bicyclist and pedestrians on the bike paths, I can see why experienced riders travailing at higher speeds than the average biker might choose the road, So in that case, a high curb presents a hazard, as the right pedal may strike it and cause a bicyclist to lose control.
        A curb at 3 inches gives the bicyclist an extra few inches on the right side, which could be critical in some situations.

    • E-bikes shouldnt even be on the bike paths. Mass law prohibits them on the bike paths. However Dylan Fernandes has a bill Bill H.3014 to allow them to use the bike paths. I hope it passes.

      • redsox– I think there is a big difference between an assisted e bike, where you have to pedal, and an e bike that has a throttle. My bike is an assisted one. I converted the bike I have had for years and it is essentially no different than what is was before I converted it. My top speed has actually been reduced, as you can only put one gear on the front sprocket. I chose the middle one. Since I no longer have the top gear in front, and I can only pedal so fast, I am slower.
        I strongly suggest that aging bikers take a look into this technology. I am 67, but when I am on that bike, It seems like I am 25.
        Thanks for the info about the bill — I will petition for it’s passage.

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