Save Falmouth residents from truck traffic


To the Editor:

The Steamship Authority’s recent public hearing on its 2024 schedule made a mockery of the pledge in its mission statement to engage in meaningful public engagement. For such a public hearing, it is reasonable to expect that the governing board of this public agency will be present. Not so with the Steamship Authority. 

More than 100 residents petitioned the SSA for a hearing on its controversial 5:30 am freight ferry. That schedule continues to result in heavy and noisy freight trucks waking households in the predawn hours on Palmer Avenue, North Main Street, Locust Street, Woods Hole Road, Crane Street, and Cowdry Road in Falmouth.

Presumably the date and time of the hearing were chosen so that as many SSA board members as possible could attend. The SSA chose Friday afternoon, a terrible time for working people. Yet, of the SSA’s five governors, only Falmouth SSA representative Peter Jeffrey attended. The SSA’s new chief operating officer, Mark Higgins, appeared on Zoom only after a speaker asked him to make himself visible on camera. Falmouth residents’ testimony about concerns with predawn freight truck noise in our neighborhoods, traffic, and public safety on our roads went unheard by the absent Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket members of the board, who hold 70 percent of the votes on matters before it. 

Falmouth residents’ reasonable request that the Steamship Authority’s freight truck trips not be scheduled in a manner that wakes up hundreds of Falmouth households on a daily basis was once again summarily dismissed. The authority continues to serve narrow interests and ignore proven alternatives to the 5:30 am trips. Falmouth is negatively impacted by the immense number of freight trucks and automobiles (a total of 59,233 trucks and 510,862 automobiles in 2022) traveling to and from the Vineyard through our residential neighborhoods.

Falmouth is the Steamship Authority’s largest port community. We know that many Island residents share the concerns of their Falmouth neighbors. We ask that Vineyard residents and leaders join us in trying to persuade the SSA to take reasonable steps to reduce the damage to Falmouth and Woods Hole now caused by its 5:30 am shipping schedule.


Nat Trumbull
Woods Hole