Last year, drawn in by the HMS report and later by the proposed monstrous terminal building in Woods Hole, I started attending the all-too-regular presentations by the Steamship Authority. I’ve come to realize these presentations are just like a game show that I’ll call “We Are Listening.”
The latest episode, in the Falmouth High School auditorium, was to discuss the “need” for a 5:30 AM freight boat from Woods Hole to the Vineyard. Steve Sayers, the veteran MC/host, was brought out of retirement and kicked things off by introducing a stream of truck drivers—that’s right, truck drivers—who tried to explain why their deliveries cannot wait an hour or two.
It would have been more convincing if at least one of the receivers of the goods had come to the meeting—or even sent a note—to explain why these goods that they didn’t identify are so valuable, critical or perishable that they cannot be delivered at 7 AM instead of 6 AM.
I conclude it’s the truck drivers and trucking companies who testified that are inconvenienced, not the Vineyard businesses, who didn’t deem it important enough to even send a comment.
So without verifying a need beyond the convenience of the truckers it feels like the channel is switched to another replay of “Family Feud”—after all, many families from Falmouth have married Vineyard families and vice versa and why wait for Thanksgiving to press each other’s hot buttons?
Vineyarder: Falmouth people are trying to cut off our lifeline!
Falmouthite: We just don’t want trucks running through our neighborhoods at 4:30 to 5 AM without an established need—beyond convenience of truckers.
This emotional discussion casts a shadow over any potential rationality, to the delight of some in the room.
Switch channel back to “We Are Listening.”
M/C Sayers: The SSA will gather public comment and make an informed decision before next season.
Final Question: Will the convenience of a few truckers who want to beat the traffic or of their owners who want to get one more daily trip for their rigs, win over scores of Falmouth neighbors getting a night’s sleep?
Anyone care to predict the outcome?
Robert J. Morris