The Tisbury connector road project has been defeated again. After nearly two hours of discussion, town voters rejected a proposal to build a connector road system from Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road during a well-attended special town meeting Tuesday.
A large turnout of 254 voters, more than twice the 100 needed for a quorum, turned out for the meeting, which was moderated by Deborah Medders.
It marks the third time in two years voters have turned down a plan to build a bypass road between Edgartown Vineyard Haven Road and the State Road business corridor.
This time voters were asked to consider three separate articles relating to the project. Two of the articles failed to achieve a needed two-thjirds majority. A third, which would have allowed the use of Chapter 90 state aid to build two legs of the road project, was at first approved and later reconsidered and defeated. The reconsideration followed the defeat of the main article, a $1.3 million appropriation to build the main part of the road.
Debate centered on the value of a bypass road to alleviate traffic congestion and also changes that have happened in other intersections, specifically the roundabout.
“The roundabout is more efficient so it transmits [traffic] to both ends [of the road],” said Bill Straw, who argued that traffic has worsened on the Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road.
Some said the plan itself would create more traffic problems by creating three new intersections emptying onto State Road.
Opponents of the proposal said the cost of the project was too high and some voters expressed frustration about the item appearing on a warrant again. The project was defeated on the town meeting floor last spring but won approval in an override question at the ballot box.
“Who know that when we made the effort to go to town meeting in spring and discussed for hours this whole connector system, [and] voted it down [that the] ballots had already been printed?” said Marie Laursen.
“I’m really bothered by the process,” she said. “I think we shouldn’t be here tonight.”
The main connector road article failed 147-77.
It was a defeat for outgoing department of public works director Fred LaPiana who had championed the project. At the outset of the meeting Mr. LaPiana received a standing ovation of thanks from voters for his 20 years heading the major town department.
In other business, two property transfer requests were postponed at the request of the selectmen.
Most other items on the 12-article warrant were easily approved.
A vote taken at a 2008 special town meeting that authorized borrowing to construct a solid waste facility was rescinded. The facility was never built.
The Tisbury School will receive a new roof after the town voted to approve $305,000 for repairs and replacement on the school building. Voters also approved $36,544 to fund the town’s share of architectural design fees for a new superintendent’s building, authorized the appropriation of $45,000 for refuse operations and approved funding of two pump-out facilities at Owen Park and the Lake street landing, at a total cost of $20,000 from the Waterways Fund.