Your July 5 editorial dismissed the concerns of one of your readers about the “industrialization” of Woods Hole, in the context of the new Steamship Authority ferry slip and its proposed new large ticket office. The editorial mentioned prior industrial activities that occurred in the village, such as the building of whaling ships. The history of maritime-based industries in Woods Hole is not relevant. The village is not industrial now. Steamship Authority-associated vehicle traffic hurts Woods Hole and the rest of the Cape. The new third ferry slip increases the capacity of the Woods Hole steamship port, with its potential vehicle traffic, by 50 percent.

The editorial was disdainful of the reader’s claim that the the view from the Crane Street bridge is “precious.” You wrote that while that view is nice, it’s not precious, that there are better views around, and that the editorialist never saw anyone “taking in the view” from the bridge. Well, the view from the Crane Street bridge is precious to someone. Everyone who crosses that bridge sees the view, even if they aren’t stopped taking it in. That view is one of many that would be lost if the new Steamship Authority ticket office is built as proposed. That and other village views should not be lost if there are reasonable alternatives to the proposed new SSA ticket office that would allow those views to be preserved.

The editorial says that “residents have been complaining about traffic from steamship operations for nearly a century.” Good point, which validates our residents’ concerns. Traffic is worsening in spite of those persistent complaints. Residents want action.

Finally, the editorial calls for a “measured dialogue” with “better communication.” A dialogue is what the community has been seeking, in the face of an often unresponsive and uncommunicative Steamship Authority. We want a conversation among area residents, islanders, the Steamship Authority, and others who might facilitate more regional, forward-looking approaches to maintaining the lifeline to the islands while improving the well-being of Woods Hole and other Cape residents.

James D. Sullivan

Scraggy Neck


(1) comment


Woods Hole is a small place, but I recall the railyard with steam locomotive servicing facilities when I was young. That was a real industrial site. What needs to be done is to ship the freight from New Bedford and the people from Woods Hole, period. The Vineyard people need to be more cooperative in this regard. We keep hearing how dangerous it is to bring ferries through Woods Hole Passage. Bull. I recall one day standing on the dock in WH in the fog and watching the big steamer Nantucket (later Naushon) grope it's way into the dock after arriving from New Bedford, using primitive radar and skill to help them through the "hole".

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