Lyft driver George Gamble is used to summer time site visitors jams on the Winery, however altering patterns are altering the best way he does enterprise.
With bottlenecks rising close to the Martha’s Winery airport, Mr. Gamble, a year-round resident of Oak Bluffs, chooses to drive more often than not from early to late morning.
“It isn’t price spending extra time sitting than driving,” he informed the Gazette this week. “Sure, they pay you [by the ride-sharing companies]however even that’s irritating with the worth of fuel within the Winery, the place we’re paying a greenback extra per gallon than alongside the Cape.
Site visitors is a sizzling matter on Martha’s Winery each summer time, as hundreds of tourists clog the slim, paved two-lane highways that wind by the Winery’s six cities.
Nicely-known summer time sizzling spots for extended site visitors jams embrace the 5 Corners in Winery Haven, close to the Steamship Authority terminal, and the Triangle on Higher Predominant Avenue in Edgartown.
However with new bother spots popping up, just like the intersection on the airport, site visitors planners with the Martha’s Winery Fee and others have been working to higher doc the numbers as they discover future options.
The MVC has carried out site visitors counts across the island for many years, however not all the time in the identical locations, making long-term comparisons troublesome.
Three years in the past that modified when the fee put in state-of-the-art, everlasting site visitors meters at six key intersections across the island: West Tisbury Street close to Morning Glory Farm in Edgartown; the intersection of West Tisbury and Barnes streets in Edgartown; Edgartown-Winery Haven Street close to Regional Excessive Faculty and YMCA in Oak Bluffs; Seashore Street close to Huge Bridge on the Edgartown-Oak Bluffs metropolis line; State freeway in West Tisbury; and South street in West Tisbury close to Alley’s.
Not included within the record are the Triangle at Edgartown, 5 Corners, and the intersection of Airport Street with West Tisbury Street.
“One of many components we needed to think about with [choosing the] six websites was when site visitors was heavy, automobiles have been idling,” Dan Doyle, regional planner for MVC, informed the Gazette by cellphone. “That may generally create noise within the knowledge and corrupt its integrity. The site visitors meter has worth, however that meter alone will not inform the entire story.”
Nonetheless, the latest counts from the MVC present that site visitors isn’t any worse and is even enhancing in some locations.
Everlasting site visitors counters have been put in in any respect six websites in November 2019, Mr. Doyle stated. However with 2020 an anomaly as a result of pandemic, he stated one of the best comparable numbers are from the summer time of 2021 and 2022. “The 2020 numbers… . they’re low as a result of the primary few months of Covid noticed lots of social isolation and closures throughout establishments for in-person programming,” he stated.
When evaluating June and July 2021 to the identical two months in 2022, site visitors was both flat or down throughout all six websites.
For instance, common day by day site visitors alongside the Seashore Street website close to the Huge Bridge dropped from 7,057 automobiles in June 2021 to six,583 in June 2022, a lower of 6.7%. In July, these numbers have been eight,578 in comparison with eight,602 in 2021, a lower of zero.three p.c.
On State Street in West Tisbury, common day by day site visitors noticed a three.1% lower from June 2021 to June 2022, from 10,029 automobiles to 9,721. In July, these numbers elevated barely to 10,892 in 2022, in comparison with 10,652 in 2021, a year-over-year lower of two.2%.
A sample of fewer automobiles on weekends was usually constant throughout websites from June 2021 by 2022, whereas July was flat or noticed a slight uptick.
Doyle stated the fee plans to current a proper report within the fall, which he calls “a deeper dive, a three-year retrospective.” He additionally plans to put in three extra counters subsequent yr: another on Seashore Street and one on South Street close to the Chilmark Retailer. “The third, we actually have to seek out out,” he stated.
As for the rising site visitors congestion across the airport, Mr. Doyle famous that there are extra passengers touchdown at MVY this yr, citing a 15 p.c improve in summer time boardings from final summer time. Site visitors out and in of the retail park adjoining to the airport can also be an element.
The fee and the city of West Tisbury have been in talks a few examine, Doyle stated. MVC CEO Adam Turner didn’t instantly return a name from the Gazette looking for additional particulars.
Up to date data on the variety of registered automobiles on the Winery was not instantly out there from the State Registry of Motor Autos this week, however the latest data on the MVC web site studies that there are 25,000 registered automobiles on the Island, plus one other 10,000. that arrive on the Island in the summertime months belonging to seasonal residents. (Data is undated.) There are 177 miles of paved public trails within the Winery. And the Steamship Authority transports about 500,000 automobiles to and from the island annually, together with automobiles and vans.
In fact, site visitors jams are strictly a seasonal drawback, however that does not cease the complaints amongst islanders.
“Getting here’s a nightmare, is not it?” stated Rhonda Sprague, a retiree who lives in Edgartown and was purchasing within the aisles of Cease & Store on a latest weekday.
“Is it October already?” a driver, caught in site visitors on Higher Predominant Avenue, yelled out the window at some islanders all yr lengthy. They laughed as they toasted him with their cones from the Dairy Queen throughout the road.