Narrowing the road, adding sidewalks and building a shared-use path are all part of an emerging plan to re-engineer a portion of Beach Road that runs along the waterfront in Vineyard Haven.

At a meeting last week Tisbury selectmen and planning board members agreed on a plan to submit to the state Department of Transportation as part of an ongoing effort to make the road more safe for cyclists and pedestrians.

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation began developing an improvement project after a 2009 study by the Martha’s Vineyard Commission identified the road as a missing link in the Island network of shared-used paths for cyclists and pedestrians.

Beach Road received a priority designation due to “the virtual absence of bike and pedestrian facilities” from Vineyard Haven to Oak Bluffs, according to the most recent report prepared by the commission. The project is scheduled to be part of the 2017 federal funding cycle.

Meetings between the state DOT officials and the town began over the summer. A public form was held in September with three improvement plans presented. But there was little consensus at the time — several more plans were proposed at the meeting in addition to those crafted by the state — prompting the selectmen and planning boards to schedule the session last week.

“As we all know, the roads on the Island were laid out for horses and buggies, and not SUVS . . . and Hummers and semis and such,” planning board chairman Daniel Seidman said during the meeting. “So we’re working with a constrained design in the first place.” The proposal was crafted with the goal of not taking any land from Beach Road business owners via easement, leaving 40 feet of space to fit in two lanes for cars as well as any cyclist and pedestrian accommodations.

After nearly two hours of discussion, the boards unanimously decided to request that the state follow a set of guidelines based upon a 20-foot roadway with a three-foot shoulder on either side. That leaves room for a seven-foot sidewalk on both sides of the road from Five Corners to the Tisbury Marketplace, which would then change to a nine-foot wide shared use path on the south side of Beach Road, and a five-foot sidewalk on the north side. There is already a shared-use path between Winds Up and the town boat ramp.

The three-foot shoulder allows for experienced cyclists to ride on the road, while the sidewalk creates a space for pedestrians to walk.

“What we’re talking about is separating [bikes and pedestrians] for a certain portion,” Mr. Seidman said. “It’s actually a hybrid concept.”

In order for the plan to work, the project will need a variance on the width of the roadways allowing them to be 10 feet across.

Mr. Seidman said narrowing the roads would help slow traffic down.

“A natural way to calm traffic is to skinny up the travel lanes,” he said. The slower traffic, in turn, would allow experienced cyclists to travel at the same speed as cars.

Selectman Melinda Loberg pointed out that the state’s plans so far had not included any mechanisms for coping with flooding along Beach Road, which frequently is inundated during storms.

“There’s a few things that need to be added that they haven’t talked about yet,” agreed planning board member Cheryl Doble.