Chilmark selectmen are working to iron out the kinks in a free shuttle service between Tabor House Road and Menemsha that began in July. The service offers an alternative for drivers to park off site and away from the congested harbor area.
“We’re having mixed reviews,” said chairman Bill Rossi at a meeting last week. “Some days when it’s a nice sunset, we’re hearing up to 25 cars.”
Selectman Warren Doty said the new park and ride lot on Tabor House Road has averaged between seven and 15 cars a day since the service began. The lot has room for about 70 vehicles.
North Road, which enters Menemsha from the northeast, is now closed to parking between 4 and 9 p.m. daily until September.
Mr. Rossi said he has received some complaints about the orange no-parking signs that were installed along the road. The selectmen had agreed in July to install permanent signs, but following an unexpected delay, police chief Brian Cioffi said he put up the temporary orange signs instead.
“I think they are ugly, but that’s all the police department had for signs, because we typically don’t keep signs,” the chief said. Mr. Doty said the permanent signs had since arrived and were in the highway department shed and ready to be installed. “So let’s get them up and then we can reduce the number of our signs,” he said.
Chief Cioffi said temporary signs might be a better solution since they would be in use only between July and September. “For that time frame, if we got eight signs, four on each side, and just put them up for that amount of time and then took them down at the end of the summer, I think that would be appropriate,” he said.
He said so far, most people have been obeying the no-parking signs. “I think they pretty much got the message,” the chief said.
The selectmen also discussed installing four solar-powered floodlights around the edge of the parking lot. Mr. Cioffi said two lights that were installed on a nearby building at the dump were not effective.
In other business, selectmen agreed to present to the committee on Squibnocket Beach with their plan for restoring a portion of the beach where a parking lot and the lone access road to homes at Squibnocket Farm are threatened by erosion.
The plan was rejected at the annual town meeting in favor of further study. The new committee has been collecting information from the community and stakeholder groups.
Mr. Rossi suggested focusing on the board’s main objectives rather than on the detailed plan that was presented at the town meeting. “I think to come out with more factual material would just be redundant at this point,” he said.
At least one of the selectmen will present to the committee on Tuesday, August 19, at 8 a.m.
Picking up on earlier town efforts, the selectmen began discussing the formation of a new committee to study possible sites for a fire station or public safety building.
“We’ve identified four parcels that would possibly work,” Mr. Rossi said. The committee will likely include representatives from the fire department and ambulance service, and three members of the community at large.
Executive secretary Tim Carroll pointed out that choosing a site for a public safety building typically comes after a feasibility study. But Mr. Doty didn’t believe the town was at that stage. “At this point we’re trying to just get off the dime,” he said.
“I think there are very few options available that are desirable,” Mr. Rossi said. “I don’t think it’s going to take a lot of study.”
The next selectmen’s meeting is August 19.