Aquinnah explores new road idea

The stretch of Lobsterville Road that leads to the head of Menemsha Pond. — Eunki Seonwoo

The Aquinnah select board expressed support for exploring how to make a segment of Lobsterville Road safer for pedestrians and cyclists, an idea brought forward by Martha’s Vineyard Commission special projects planner Dan Doyle. 

Doyle joined Tuesday’s meeting late, so Aquinnah town administrator Jeffrey Madison explained the idea to the board. The technical term is creating an “edge lane road,” which would have “bike and pedestrian easements on both sides” striped on the one-fifth of a mile on Lobsterville Road. The area is between the intersection Lobsterville Road shares with West Basin Road and the head of Menemsha Pond. Each easement would be 10 feet wide.

“The traffic would travel in one lane, because it’s straight there. You can see from one end to the other. [Doyle] said it’d be safer,” Madison said. “There’re a lot of people who walk down there.” 

Madison said there would be no commitments made at this time. 

Board member Tom Murphy expressed concern that the proposed width of the easements may be too large for the size of the road. Aquinnah Police Sgt. Paul Manning also pointed out that the land along that stretch of road is tribal land. 

After Doyle arrived, he answered some questions the board had. Doyle said the road is about 17½ feet wide, with slight variations along it. He also said an engineering scope would see what type of vehicles travel on that road to better assess appropriate easement sizes and proper signage. Unless another car is approaching, most drivers tend to stick to the middle of the road in that area, according to Doyle.

“What it’s really doing is formalizing what already happens,” Doyle said.

Doyle said this idea has been discussed with the Aquinnah planning board before, which was also in favor of exploring it. He said bringing the community into the discussion will also be needed, such as public forums in the fall. 

In other business, the board unanimously approved Christopher Manning to hold the positions of the lighthouse keeper and an Aquinnah Police officer under the “small towns exemption.” 

The board also unanimously appointed Manning to be constable, a position nobody ran for during the town elections in the spring. This appointment also fell under the exemption, and Madison said town clerk Gabriella Camilleri recommended making the appointment. Once Manning is sworn in as a constable, one of his first tasks will be signing the warrant for the 2022 state primary elections, happening on Sept. 6, which the board unanimously signed during the meeting. 


  1. I grew up on this road and walked and biked it plenty as a child. Most drivers go around the people walking and if you are walking you tend to go on to the edge of the grass if a car is approaching. I used to bike/hike to the bike ferry a lot and never had a problem. If they make this a one way road with a light or some sort of waiting thing it will create lots of unneeded traffic. Sounds like more planning for summer people’s benefit while the person that has to work waits instead of just being patient and waiting for the road to clear and driving around them or the walker going on to the grass edge. The major issue with the road is the wash outs that occur with the sand and sea level type problem more than the walkers and bikers. Also imagine a traffic light/ stop and go devise in the head. Wow

    • Summer people pay the majority of the real estate taxes in town.
      No taxation without out representation.
      It’s reason enough to start a revolution.
      That rude bridge that arched the flood thing.

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