In our last installment about the roundabout proposed for the blinker intersection, things were looking pretty bleak for the home team. Not that the project’s proponents were looking especially good: at around 11 p.m. on October 6, after yet another interminable, lackluster discussion, the Martha’s Vineyard Commission (MVC) deadlocked at 6 for and 6 against, whereupon Chris Murphy, the current MVC chair, cast his tie-breaking vote for the project — “for the Oak Bluffs selectmen,” he said.
Of all the piss-poor reasons to support the roundabout, that is without doubt the piss-poorest. Mr. Murphy’s remark has been widely interpreted to mean that he was voting for political reasons rather than on the merits of the project. He may or may not have been conscious of this.
At the time I wrote:
Still — you know what? I don’t believe this thing is going to be built. Short of legal action, for which we don’t have the money, I don’t see how it’s going to be stopped, but I still don’t think we’re going to have a roundabout where Barnes Road meets the Edgartown–Vineyard Haven Road. As far as I can tell, most Vineyarders don’t want the damn thing. Whether we have the guts to stop it is open to question.
Occupy the blinker intersection?
Well, it’s been an interesting three weeks. At the MVC’s October 20 meeting, Lenny Jason urged his fellow commissioners to rescind the October 6 vote. Only someone who voted with the majority can move to reconsider a vote — Lenny has been adamantly against the roundabout from the beginning — but apparently anyone can move to rescind a vote. Chairman Murphy, he of the ill-advised tie-breaking vote, noted that two commissioners, one pro and one anti, weren’t present and so scheduled the rescission discussion for November 3. What makes this especially interesting is that Mr. Murphy could have squelched the idea. He didn’t, and not because he’s against the roundabout.
Roundabout opponents report being accosted at the grocery store, the post office, and social events by people who think the project is absurd and can’t believe it’s going forward. One can only suspect, and hope, that some glimmers of this sentiment have reached Mr. Murphy.
On Facebook, a group called “Go Around This” appeared out of nowhere last week. It already has 240 members. This week STOP THE ROUNDABOUT ads are going into both the Martha’s Vineyard Times and the Vineyard Gazette. Readers are urged to contact their commissioners or to e-mail their views to firstname.lastname@example.org; volunteers will make sure that their comments are relayed to the commissioners. The grapevine is humming, the NO ROUNDABOUT petitions are circulating again, and the Times has set up an opinion poll on its website.
Could the spirit of Occupy Wall Street be trickling down to Martha’s Vineyard? There’s a welcome feistiness in the air, and it’s not just the briskness that October always brings. Interested in circulating a petition? Contact me on Facebook or give me a call — I’m in the book. See you at the MVC offices, 33 New York Ave., Oak Bluffs; 8 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 3.
The story so far, as blogged:
“Bull’s Eye,” about the October 6 vote to build the roundabout
“Weasels,” about the October 3 land-use planning committee (LUPC) meeting
“The Hearing Continues,” about the continuation of the public hearing on September 22, at which Angie Grant of the VTA (Vineyard Transit Authority) told the MVC what they needed to know about buses and bus stops
“Now Playing!,” introducing Trip’s now famous video (September 20)
“Roundabout TV,” onstage at the making of the video, featuring Trip’s Big Truck (September 18)
“Public Hearing,” a flabbergasted account of the September 1 public hearing
“Whose Blinker?,” musing on how we see the blinker intersection depends on the routes we usually take
“Roundabout,” about the August 4 MVC meeting, at which the DRI was discussed and accepted, along with some definitions for the civicly clueless — which I was at the time