Church Street review was thoughtful and thorough

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To the Editor:

We, the Island community members of the Martha’s Vineyard Transit Authority (VTA) advisory board, wish to thank the nine members of the Edgartown Church Street Review Committee for doing such thoughtful work. The VTA only wants to get this right. We appreciate that the committee came to the same conclusion as the VTA did. 

The Church Street Review Committee members were a diverse, professional, and thoughtful group. Members included a Dukes County commissioner (Keith Chatinover), a resident of the Edgartown Historic District, an Edgartown village resident, senior planner at the Martha’s Vineyard Commission (MVC) Bill Veno, and a Church Street resident of 40 years. 

The Edgartown selectmen created the committee in June after a nonbinding warrant article passed at the town’s annual town meeting asking if the VTA’s induction charger project should undergo a full public review, in further detail. The committee met nine times, held site visits and considered alternative locations for the charging stations. However, customer preference, current VTA route schedules, and economic efficiency caused the Church Street location to be considered the best option. The VTA hopes that construction will begin in the fall of 2021. 

Mark Snider, the Edgartown VTA board representative and a member of the committee, said that “in short, the committee strongly supports the installation of three inductive chargers under Church Street in Edgartown.” The MV Times characterized the report as an “unbridled endorsement of a plan to install inductive chargers …” 

The $1.4 million Edgartown project, first proposed in 2017, also includes upgrading of the Church Street bus terminals’ landscaping and patio in downtown Edgartown. Totally funded by federal and state government grants, this modernization will not cost the town of Edgartown or the Island one cent of local monies. 

As the Island looks to the future of transportation — and the critical climate threats of diesel engine emissions — creating an electric fleet of buses is job No. 1 for the VTA. Creating charging stations that extend the operational range of electric buses is key to the successful transition to an all-electric fleet. Talks are already underway with officials of West Tisbury to create another charging station there. 

Again, thank you, Church Street Review Committee members, for your conscientious and civic-minded completion of your assignment. 

Alice R. Butler, Oak Bluffs representative

Mark Snider, Edgartown representative

Leonard Jason Jr., Chilmark representative

Susanna Sturgis, West Tisbury representative

Kelly McCarron, rider representative

Anne R. Sylvester, disabled rider representative

Elaine Miller, Tisbury representative