Editors, Vineyard Gazette:
I certainly share Heidi Schultz’s terror at the possibility of being knocked off the historic but narrow Mill Brook bridge at North Tisbury, but I mourn the loss of the nice old black-and-white wood-and-iron guardrails. Of course, dear Brutus, the fault is not in our stars, but in our cars. If travelers could possibly slow down to 15 mph on the bridge — about as likely as the Tea Party voting for new taxes — then we could perhaps resist the forces of Big Highway, which over decades has repeatedly threatened nice government-issue guardrails.
Of course, on the Vineyard we suffer from a serious case of — what shall I call it? — speed pollution, and everyone seems to be hell-bent on saving five or 10 minutes getting to the grocery store, instead of enjoying the scenery. I remember perhaps 10 years ago the Mill Brook Bridge nearly suffered the same fate as it now has, or worse. At the time I made up some signs: “Want To Save This Historic Bridge? SLOW DOWN!”, but the matter went away. I still have the signs in the basement — a pity I didn’t get to use them.
Of course, the new guardrails don’t actually solve the real problem (but thank you for the Cor-Ten-like finish) which is a narrow bridge, on a curve, with cars and trucks at speed. They just make sure the remains of you and your automobile don’t go off the road when you’re mowed down by an 18-wheeler doing 45.
Take a moment if you can someday and park nearby. Clamber down the steep bank. From underneath you can see, on the upstream side, the bottom of the original bridge, with its massive, majestic, granite beams, and also, on the downstream side, a widened section, concrete as I recall. If we could arrange to widen the bridge a third time, perhaps Fortress DOT would let us reinstall the nice old black and white railings.
We could copy them from the bridge just short of the Lambert’s Cove Beach parking lot — or are those gone now too?
Christopher Gray, New York city