State’s ‘path of destruction’

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To the Editor:

I live at 68 Eastville Ave. If you are on-Island, you have seen the senseless destruction from the corner of County Avenue to the drawbridge. Calling this a bike path is misleading — this is a path of destruction. The state has destroyed habitat, beautiful trees, lots of living things, much of it adjacent to sensitive wetlands and other waterways. The select board and planners have allowed the company doing the work to grind up the trees in the process.

In the past, I was an avid cycler; I cycled extensively and daily in Boston for years, and have traveled by bike in many states and internationally. When I heard rumors about this project a few years ago, I thought there would be a few extra feet added to a six-foot shoulder to improve safety. Fine. This seemed reasonable. Then I got a notice regarding the work to be done on my property, and met with one of the engineers in charge of the project. I was shocked to learn that they wanted to strip approximately 11 feet of habitat! I called the select board office many times and I wrote to the board, pleading with them to meet on Eastville Avenue to take a look at the extreme work that was proposed. They could not be bothered — and only one select person voted against the path.

Let’s stop this destruction. We can’t get back the trees — but no asphalt or concrete has been poured yet. We could pull out the stumps and replant trees and native shrubs, instead installing a reasonable shoulder and enforcing a safe speed limit. If need be, rework the intersection where County meets Eastville Avenue. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of money in simply reworking the intersection, widening the shoulder, and lowering the speed limit. Incidentally, the people doing this much larger project are off-Island engineers, surveyors, etc., who are collecting federal and state money for the destruction. Greed has driven the extent of this project — at the expense of habitat, biodiversity, shade trees, wetland buffer zones, windbreaks, and natural beauty.

Robert Geary
Oak Bluffs