Your September 13 story about the meeting between the Steamship Authority and local residents reveals bureaucratic inertia in the face of changing times. The Authority is like Mr. Magoo, who stumbles in this twilight. The authority prefers the past, no matter how uncomfortable, to changing with the times. Martha’s Vineyard has outgrown Woods Hole. The Vineyard has gained too many residents who enjoy its isolation. It needs a different harbor. It needs a rail head and superhighway access.
There are no superhighways on Martha’s Vineyard. Truckers say 53-foot-long trucks don’t fit, so we prefer to drive them in the morning before Vineyard residents wake up. The Vineyarders like their isolation. To awake to bird song, not engine noise, is their pleasure. They endure waits in line to enter and leave the island.
There are no superhighways in Falmouth. We have wagon tracks that have been paved and paved again and paved on top of pavement to accept ever-heavier loads, but two-lane cart tracks are not superhighways. Watson’s Corner is a special place for many of us. We see 53-foot-long trucks stopping traffic, jamming the entire limit of the roadway to make the turn. That jam is a grand show for the pedestrian, but a wait for the motorist. Traffic waiting is increased by Falmouth residents who wish to turn, right or left, on our two-lane roads.
There is talk of building a new bridge over the canal, One may view the massive construction in Woods Hole. Nevertheless, no matter how broad the bridge, how elaborate the harbor, only an ancient cart track is used to transport goods. So like a giant sloth with an increasing appetite and a need to evacuate the remains, Martha’s Vineyard must contend with a constipation that cannot be relieved through that narrow artery that is Woods Hole Road. Their wait becomes our wait and our wait is mindless, as New Bedford harbor is waiting for the Vineyard to match its growth of its increasing needs.
Philip M. Williams