W.T. select board mulls roadside rubbish

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West Tisbury’s select board expressed concern over roadside trash along Edgartown-West Tisbury Road like this cold storage bag. — Rich Saltzberg

West Tisbury select board expressed concern Wednesday evening over litter along Edgartown–West Tisbury Road. 

“The root of the problem is the dump in Edgartown,” town administrator Jennifer Rand said. Rand suggested working with Edgartown, the West Tisbury Police, and the Martha’s Vineyard Refuse District to find solutions. Rand suggested a public information campaign and “very increased enforcement” of uncovered loads may be appropriate remedies.

“I don’t think most of the trash is people throwing it out of their windows,” Rand said. “I think most of the trash is flying out of people’s trucks going to the dump, or going to another jobsite or whatever.”

Guy Tufo, who lives on South Pond Road, which is off Edgartown–West Tisbury Road, said roadside trash is “a never-ending problem” that his housing association has had to budget for so maintenance crews can keep the entrance tidy. 

“We’re out there once a week picking up things,” Tufo said.

Tufo said he didn’t believe asking the state for help will bear fruit, because he’s heard state highway officials are already understaffed and underwater with their workload. Tufo recommended the town pitch in to clean up the roadside. Highway superintendent Richard Olsen advised against the town doing work which is normally the purview of the state because the state may come to expect town labor routinely. “There’s only so much we can do, and I don’t want to make a precedent with them because they’ll only — they’ll add it on to us,” Olsen said.

Select board member Skipper Manter said he was “uncomfortable” expending local tax revenue on a state roadway: “However, we pay state taxes like the other 351 cities and towns do across the state, and it shouldn’t be an issue here because they don’t have anybody to do the work. We don’t get any discount on our taxes for lack of personnel here.”

Manter said he saw no reason the state couldn’t send help to the Vineyard from time to time to address the road litter. 

Select board member Jessica Miller suggested the state collect trash along the road when they mow the shoulders. 

Miller, who lives off Edgartown–West Tisbury Road, said there was an “inordinate amount of garbage” on the roadside, and agreed dump runs were largely to blame. 

Select board member Cynthia Mitchell suggested folks at the transfer station could do enforcement by disallowing vehicles with uncovered loads from offloading their trash. 

The board took the matter under advisement. 

9 COMMENTS

  1. Why don’t the residents of the Grey Bar Inn pick up trash along the roadside anymore?
    Used to always see them on Beach Rd, Edgartown/ WT Rd, South Rd and State Rd up into Gay Head.

  2. Interesting.
    Mulled trash.
    Is that potable?
    Some kind of new beverage?

    Or is “mulled over roadside trash” meant?

    It would be great if the Island had a program whereby different groups or individuals volunteered to keep a certain stretch of our roads trash-free. Say, two- or even one-mile stretches. I have picked up trash along Beach Road in VH and they accepted it at the Tisbury DPW (I checked first with them).

    Another idea would be to have a road cleanup day in the fall, like the beach cleanup day in the spring.

  3. Another idea is that if you are on a job site, and see some clueless person throw their empty potato chip bag in the back of their pick up truck, politely explain to them that that bag will likely blow out while they are driving, and ask them to put it in their cab.
    I think that’s how most of it gets there. Only really ignorant jerks don’t care.

  4. No one should be responsible for picking up trash from the roadside. It should not be there in the first place! It should be the responsibility of the people with unsecured trash loads/moving of materials from job sites to do their do diligence to secure their loads! I often find on the side road I live on trash (Mocha Mott’s coffee cups, Cumberland Farms coffee cups, all sorts of booze bottles, pizza boxes/paper plates etc) I doubt THIS trash is a result of “unsecured loads” but rather laziness and total disrespect of the Island they are fortunate to live on.
    I can’t imagine what kind of pig sty they live in if they can’t be respectful of their own Island neighbors they share the land with!

  5. I’ll bet if a donor could be found for some ‘grabbers’, gloves and trash bags and a clean up date was announced a lot of Vineyard folk would show up to pitch in. Let’s just get the job done. Every time I see the mess I am puzzled because I know for a fact we are better than this.

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