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The Vineyard Gazette – Martha’s Vineyard News

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The Winery Gazette – Martha’s Winery Information

Martha’s Winery Fee planners are eyeing a major up-Island growth of the Winery’s already rising pedestrian and bicycle community, with early efforts underway to design a first-of-its-kind shared use path alongside historic North Highway.

In a letter that went out to landowners with street frontage earlier this summer time, Dan Doyle, particular tasks planner with the fee, stated conceptual planning had begun to develop biking and strolling choices up-Island. After important concerns, they concluded that North Highway — a historic, six-mile street that winds via West Tisbury and Chilmark’s scenic rolling hills, farmland and fields ­­— as the most effective candidate for the trail.

The up-Island North Highway path would join what planners hope is ultimately an Islandwide community of bicycle and pedestrian hyperlinks, stretching from Edgartown to Aquinnah and traversing drawbridges, state forest and ferries alongside the best way.

The West Tisbury-Chilmark part represents a vital artery for the deliberate bike path community, however presents its personal array of difficulties, based on the letter.

“We’re proposing a route that makes an attempt to keep up the roadway character, via preservation of most stone partitions and lots of geological options, whereas making an attempt to account for key tree specimens and privateness points,” the letter says partly. “We’ll current our work to numerous boards and committees in West Tisbury and Chilmark within the coming months and would welcome your enter as a landowner alongside North Highway to assist us higher perceive how a SUP could be designed to serve the group whereas retaining the up-Island character. We wished to ensure you heard from us early on.”

The conceptual proposal — nonetheless very a lot in its nascency — has come earlier than the West Tisbury and Chilmark planning boards in current weeks. Mr. Doyle and commissioner Jim Vercruysse, an Aquinnah resident, are spearheading the planning.

The trail would run from the intersection of State and North roads in West Tisbury to Menemsha. The street is co-owned by the 2 cities; the primary roughly 1.5 miles are in West Tisbury, with the remaining in Chilmark.

Though North Highway is about 20 to 30 ft huge with a 50-foot proper of approach, the challenge would possible contain varied easements to keep away from reducing timber and disturbing the historic stone partitions that line the roadside edges. Planners are analyzing choices each inside and outdoors the precise of approach, in addition to paved and unpaved paths. There are about 60 to 80 landowners on each the north and south sides of the street, in accordance land surveys and assessors maps.

Mr. Doyle famous the problem ­— and in addition the importance — of the proposal in his letter.

“To guard North Highway’s character, it seems possible that quite a few easements from landowners might be wanted given the present roadway format and placement of many stone partitions. Whereas that is an unconventional strategy for creating a motorbike path on the Winery, there are a long time of priority in working with a number of landowners to create strolling trails that cowl substantial distances. An analogous cooperation of landowners would be the solely approach a motorbike path will be created up-Island,” the letter says.

The Winery’s once-limited mishmash of semi-formal bike paths has undergone dramatic developments in current a long time via Islandwide planning initiatives spearheaded by the fee, state and city governments.

After a fee examine got here out in 2009 concerning shared-use paths, Tisbury’s Seaside Highway hall that connects with Oak Bluffs and the hospital was recognized as one of many largest down-Island gaps. In August of 2013, MassDOT employed an engineering agency to design enhancements for pedestrians and cyclists alongside the street. Six years later, about $7.2 million in federal and state cash was lastly allotted for the challenge.

A 3-year development timeline was set to start earlier this month.

In the meantime, a plan to assemble a path alongside State Highway in West Tisbury that will stretch from the intersection with Outdated Stage Highway and join with North Highway can be within the works, based on Mr. Doyle. The plans, if accomplished, would symbolize the primary shared use paths up-Island, and join down-Island paths through the Dr. Daniel Fisher Highway and paths within the state forest.

In a telephone interview this week, Mr. Doyle stated discussions with Mr. Vercruysse concerning the North Highway proposal started a few yr in the past, with the intention to develop the Island’s shared use path assets, significantly up-Island.

“There’s huge gaping expanses up-Island with no connectivity in any respect,” Mr. Doyle stated. “We really feel the deck is kind of stacked in favor of automobiles . . . and it’d be good to present individuals different selections which can be protected. That’s actually the motivation for it.”

Mr. Doyle stated an evaluation was performed of the three fundamental arteries that run just about parallel to 1 one other via Chilmark — North, Center and South roads — in addition to historical methods, to find out which might work finest for a shared use path. After analyzing variables similar to wetlands, right-of-way dimensions, the variety of properties with street frontage, intersections and the terrain, North Highway emerged as the popular choice.

South and Center roads, with encroaching stone partitions and excessive embankments, have been possible too slim, particularly contemplating resistance among the many planners to widening the street, Mr. Doyle stated. North Highway would give planners extra flexibility, though timber and stone partitions additionally current difficulties.

On the Chilmark planning board assembly, Mr. Doyle stated a vocal contingent of residents and landowners expressed issues about preserving the scenic street, together with the tree cover. Just a few residents additionally spoke in help of the proposal, Mr. Doyle stated.

“The planning board conferences are undoubtedly a reminder that that is going to be difficult,” he stated. “Folks don’t need to see a single factor modified to North Highway.”

The fashionable model of the street dates to the Nineteen Thirties, and contains quite a lot of vistas, historic properties and eclectic sights, similar to the enduring, pink Mobil gasoline pump. However Mr. Doyle stated the previous street doesn’t run in the midst of the precise of approach, which means the subsequent step within the challenge could be to do a complete street survey and mapping to find out pinch factors. He stated planners haven’t any intention to disturb the stone partitions, even when they’re inside proper of how.

The challenge could be eligible for Transportation Enchancment Program funding, which helped finance the Seaside Highway SUP, based on Mr. Doyle. However it could want approval first — which stays a great distance off.

“I hear an objection that’s, these roads haven’t modified in eternally, they’re so lovely and ought to be saved the best way they’re. I really feel, let’s discover a option to let individuals go to them in essentially the most low affect approach attainable,” Mr. Doyle stated. “We really feel like you’ll be able to nonetheless have this enchanting experience up North Highway and protect a few of these viewsheds.”

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