MassDOT weighs in on SUP

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The Beach Road project is on hold as Tisbury and MassDOT try to come to terms on who's going to pay for unexpected cost overruns.

Land-taking connected to the shared use path (SUP) project in Oak Bluffs remains a subject of disagreement between homeowners and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT). In response to an inquiry about land-taking concerns raised by property owner Xerxes Agassipour, MassDOT stated that because their department is in the midst of negotiating with him, it cannot comment.

“The right of way process is ongoing, and we are not able to provide specific information at this time, as communications and negotiations with the relevant parties are ongoing,” MassDOT spokesperson Judith Reardon Riley emailed. “It is anticipated that appraisals will start this spring.”

In response to a question from The Times as to why MassDOT didn’t opt to enhance a pre-existing bicycle path that runs through Martha’s Vineyard Hospital property, Reardon Riley wrote it was inadequate.

“After conducting an extensive evaluation of the project area, including coordination with stakeholders, the determination was made to advance the design of the shared-use route in the new alignment, after weighing all options,” she wrote. “The existing bike route was evaluated, but unfortunately the route is too narrow, and has massive, if not impossible, environmental challenges, as it traverses a sensitive wetland area. However, the route ends on hospital property by exiting at the facility’s curb cut.”

As far as Tisbury’s issue with wastewater line costs triggered by the project in that town, Reardon Riley gave a fairly unresponsive reply: “In Tisbury, MassDOT is advancing construction, and will continue to work with representatives from the town of Tisbury and abutters to the project to address any questions or concerns, or coordination.”

4 COMMENTS

  1. “The existing bike route was evaluated, but unfortunately the route is too narrow, and has massive, if not impossible, environmental challenges, as it traverses a sensitive wetland area.”

    Huh.
    So, now, they are going to remove that strip of pavement and restore the wetland?
    Seems like the “massive environmental challenges” horse left the barn as soon as the asphalt strip was constructed in the first place. As it is now, it is a nice little spot to bike through. Instead DOT prefers to do a taking on a dangerous curve that all bicyclists would be well advised to avoid, esp. when traveling toward OB, even if they do widen it and thus needlessly aggravate the property owner.

  2. Uh, if the little bike path involves “massive environmental challenges,” what about that parking lot to the left of “Hospital Road”? Is there any fill under there? Or does the wetland start exactly at the edge of that parking lot?

  3. Since Reardon Riley is the point person for communicating I would like to ask what are the plans for the stone filled area in the photograph. I have been asking and no one has responded from Mass DOT or the town of Tisbury. That stone filled area is covering a deteriorating barrier beach. In speaking with Conservation I learned that the stones are temporary and will be filled with sand and plantings to preserve the shoreline. But to accomplish the SUP it is obvious to this observer that there are about 6 to 7 feet of right-of-way that was supposed to be a sidewalk and 3 ft. wide shoulder for cyclists. If Mass DOT is putting in a wider road, then they would need to cover yet more of the barrier beach and it appears as if all of the stone covered area would need to be filled and made level with the road. But everyone I ask does not respond at all. They simply ignore the question. Also, in speaking to Jane Varkonda the other day I learned that it a road would not be allowed over those stones. The only way any asphalt could be poured there is if there was an emergency because there was an asphalt road there previously. But that would be impossible because if there ever was something there it would have been a sidewalk. So my question is this, what is the plan? Is Mass DOT planning to make the barrier beach into a state highway, and if so, where are the permits going to come from? Also, since Mass DOT is widening the road, and moving it so the curve is lessened in order to increase the speed limit, it is obvious even more of the barrier beach would need to be raised and covered in asphalt. So please, can you respond to our island as to your intentions.

  4. “Also, since Mass DOT is widening the road, and moving it so the curve is lessened in order to increase the speed limit,”

    Mass DOT is planning to INCREASE the speed limit?
    The speed limit should be 20 from Five Corners to Wind’s Up.
    Then maybe 35. I still see people—well, motorbikes—passing on Beach Road.

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