Land Bank: Road infrastructure should match bucolic charm

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To the Editor:

The following is a copy of a letter sent to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.

I am writing, on behalf of the [Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank Commission], regarding two development proposals that it understands to be under consideration by MassDOT. The Land Bank has reviewed plans for the installation of crosswalks and sidewalks and related appurtenances at two locations involving the Land Bank: a] Morning Glory Farm – Ben Toms Preserve in Edgartown, and b] Little Field Preserve in West Tisbury.

The Land Bank is a public land conservation organization, created by the legislature in 1985 to conserve significant Vineyard landscapes via a dedicated public surcharge on real estate transfers. The Land Bank has since conserved some 4,000 acres, focusing particular effort on properties where the public benefit includes scenic vistas.

Morning Glory Farm – Ben Toms Preserve and Little Field Preserve are both bucolic settings, which is what led the Land Bank to spend some $5,000,000 in public money to protect them. If MassDOT has concluded that public safety features are needed in these locations, we ask that the infrastructure reflect the rural quality of the sites in particular, and the Vineyard in general. The infrastructure installed by MassDOT a few years back in West Tisbury at the intersection of the Panhandle, Scotchman’s Bridge, and State Roads is perfectly suited to an urban and suburban setting, but is and continues to be jarring in West Tisbury. Bicyclists in particular find hard curbs — purportedly a safety feature — jeopardize their safety. We hope to avoid a repetition of that misstep.

Thank you for your attention to these concerns.

 

James Lengyel, executive director
M.V. Land Bank Commission