West Tisbury selectmen reviewed a plan this week to improve traffic safety at the intersection of Old County and State Roads.
The plan calls for replacing delineators intended to slow down traffic with a T-shaped intersection and stop sign on Old County Road. The design was created by the state Department of Transportation with help from the Martha’s Vineyard Commission. The project is estimated to cost $350,000 and will be funded by the state.
Some pavement on State Road heading down-Island will be removed and seeded with grass, and a stop sign will be added on Old County Road for cars to turn onto State Road. The green space where a town Christmas tree normally stands will remain.
“It’s going to be a significant reduction in pavement . . . and overall conditions will be improved,” commission transportation planner Michael Mauro said.
MVC executive director Mark London said the safety improvement plan is expected to slow traffic quite a bit in both directions.
“That’s what we want,” said selectman and chairman of the board Cynthia Mitchell.
Selectman Richard Knabel praised the new design.
“This is basically what we’ve been looking for and I’m happy to see it,” he said.
Because selectman Jeffrey (Skipper) Manter 3rd was not in attendance; the board will take a formal vote at the next regular meeting.
The selectmen and Mr. Mauro also discussed the bridge over the Mill River Ford, where a new railing installed by the state sparked debate recently about aesthetics. The state is planning to replace the second side of the bridge with the same railing. Plans to replace the bridge with a culvert are also under consideration by the state once funding is secured. The selectmen asked Mr. Mauro to investigate the time frame.
Selectmen agreed to allow the conservation commission to consult town counsel on a possible bylaw to regulate water being taken from the Mill Pond. Town administrator Jennifer Rand said the commission is concerned that landscapers, farmers and other land purveyors are pumping out water from the pond. near Scotchman’s Bridge Lane.
“The general understanding is a lot of water is coming out,” she said.
Mr. Knabel said the Mill Pond watershed study underway should take the issue into account as well.
“It would seem to me part of that study would address this very concern,” he said. “We don’t want to get into the business of putting a bylaw on the annual town meeting warrant this year until we have solid information of what’s going on.”
Mrs. Mitchell agreed.
“Part of that study should be how big a problem of taking water out of the pond is,” she said. “While I don’t oppose giving the conservation commission access to counsel, it does seem like it’s a horse and cart kind of problem.”