I would like to remind our local newspapers that the town of Tisbury did not reject the connector road proposal. At our recent town meeting, a sizable majority, close to two-thirds, voted in favor of the plan. The vote was just seven votes short of a two thirds majority, 147 to 77 for a percentage of 65.62 per cent in favor. More than enough to defeat a filibuster in the U.S. Senate. Because a borrowing article requires a two thirds majority, one negative vote can counteract two positive votes which means that a minority can reject almost anything.
That said, the critics of the proposal have raised important points that might have been more clearly explained. Most important, the road system has always been a framework for a more inclusive plan and a way forward to address a variety of critical needs.
New bikeways and hiking trails are planned as part of an open space network surrounding the upper State Road business district, connecting Tashmoo on the north side of State Road with the woodlands and ancient ways to the south. Better access to the park and ride promises more use of bus transportation, possibly new bus routes and less reliance on cars. Easier access to the business district can’t be bad for business, nor should easier access to the school and the senior center be bad for kids, parents, teachers and old folks.
The route of these new roadways passes through some of the most disrupted lands on the Island — the landfill, the park and ride, a borrow pit, a leaching field, the sewage treatment plant and others. It gives us a chance to smooth things out a bit, restore a little of our environment and reconnect us to the wonderful landscape that surrounds us.
All these problems require a lot of effort to resolve, and they will take time. But that is just the point. The actual solutions to these issues are difficult and challenging and they can’t be done all at once. But the do-nothing option that we have pursued for years is not helpful. Doing nothing does not mean that nothing happens. We’ve tried dozens of alternatives over the years and we have learned from all of them, but this issue will not go away.
No plan is perfect but this is a good one. We have learned from past proposals; we have conducted professional surveys and traffic models; we have engaged the services of engineers and surveyors. Mostly we have relied on the guidance of the citizens of this town who have said, time and again, to stop talking and do something.
The writer is co-chairman of the Tisbury planning board.