Editors, Vineyard Gazette:
I have been a summer resident since 1948 and a resident from April to October for the past five years. My wife and I have traveled extensively and to England and Ireland very often, both as a student and for many years as a director of an NGO. This usually entailed a great deal of car travel, so I have a wealth of experience with roundabouts and rotaries that are even more commonplace there than in New England. For example, the road around the warehouse district of Limerick harbor has close to a dozen roundabouts. I have invariably traversed these intersections at 20 to 25 miles per hour with only rare stops due to prior traffic claiming a right of way. I am very familiar with the summer backups at Barnes Road and the Edgartown-Vineyard Haven intersection having been stuck in them — some of them a mile and a half long.
Thanks to Sybille Anderson from that other island for speaking the truth, also from personal experience. I agree wholeheartedly that the above intersection is a perfect application for a roundabout. There will always be naysayers, but I fully expect that most Vineyard Islanders will appreciate the effect this roundabout has in alleviating congestion, and within a few months will be asking themselves why we didn’t make the change long ago. I also would support the change Sybille suggests at the State Road and Vineyard Haven-Edgartown intersection, though I understand the space limitations make this somewhat more difficult.
I think the issues raised about pedestrian/bicycle crossings can be handled simply with a push button pedestal to stop traffic as may be found on virtually every major city downtown intersection.
As to the argument that somehow this will produce more traffic congestion at either end of the Edgartown-Vineyard Haven road, that is totally specious. Roundabouts don’t breed cars! We love the Island because of its steady state, but we should be wise enough to distinguish between change which is merely disruptive, and change that improves our environment by cutting down on stop-start noise, wasted fuel and sitting in long hot summer lines because the current intersection isn’t designed to handle the volume. Besides that, this is the best way to avoid a full-fledged stoplight that nobody wants.
Barry J. Carroll, East Chop and Lake Forest, Ill.