A bridge too many? The Vineyard state of mind.

If ever there was an issue crying out for a plebiscite, the proposed third bridge is it. The decision on this dubious improvement is crucial to the quality of life of everyone living on Cape Cod now and into the future. The people who will be most affected by it, for better or worse, should have a chance to vote it up or down.

In any case, before we go to the trouble, expense, and massive inconvenience of greasing the skids for tourists to get to us, we might want to consult Martha’s Vineyard on the virtues of bottleneck living.

The island seems in fact committed, both residents and visitors, to living with much more difficult access than that of the Cape, with not only the canal to get over but five miles of Vineyard Sound before you’re homefree. The Vineyard is just as popular, if not more so, than the Cape, but apparently have no thought of making it easier to get there.

Yes, a bridge to the Vineyard would be a bit more of a project than one over the canal, but there’s something else operating besides resignation to insularity: a whole different mindset. (From what I have picked up from a fair amount of time spent there visiting relatives over decades, the idea of a bridge has always been raised only as a joke.)

I don’t know how daily commuters to mainland jobs feel about it, but most islanders seem actually to appreciate the bottleneck, realizing that relative inaccessibility is key to quality of life for residents and tourists alike. Inconvenience seems built into the treasured ruralness and remoteness. On Cape or islands, you can’t have it both ways.

I suppose you can’t compare inching along in gridlocked summer traffic with a picturesque ferry ride. Maybe the key is to shift Cape visitors to another sort of antiquated transportation. The Cape’s version of the Vineyard ferry could be to require all summer visitors to board a picturesque train when they hit the canal.
Or, maybe somebody could come up with a smart phone app to help visitors stuck in summer traffic get in touch with their inner ferry.


The responsibility of the 99% to itself

All I’m getting these days is gloomy email about how, as bad as things have been with a small Democratic majority in the senate, it’s going to get worse because the Republicans are headed for a big victory. That’s gloomy for progressives; the Republicans are rubbing their hands in glee. The conservative billionaires seem to […]

Truro vs. a wealthy citizen

Truro’s protracted battle with the Klines continues. The issue in recent months is the $178,000 it had cost the town by July to attempt to enforce the law—that is, tear down this house declared illegal by the courts—and whether the town can afford to go on enforcing its own zoning. A former selectman (who happens […]

“Boyhood”: the drama of life as we know it

I finally got around to seeing the movie “Boyhood.” I assume a lot of people have seen it by now since it’s been playing on Cape for weeks. Someone asked me what it’s about and it wasn’t so easy to say. As much as anything, it’s about the passage of time. Its uniqueness is in […]

Ken Burns’ America: is there another one?

I assume a lot of us spent a lot of the evenings of last week watching Ken Burns’ latest American saga, “The Roosevelts.” By linking Teddy Roosevelt with his relatives Eleanor and FDR, “The Roosevelts” tells a story of our country covering more than a century— a lot more, if you think of us as […]

Our curious lack of curiosity about NStar spraying

NStar, persevering in its bad neighbor policy, in late August publicized a list of the next victims of its herbicide spraying of plants in its power lines right-of-way. All Cape towns have officially objected to this practice, along with all our legislators, but the virtually universal condemnation falls on deaf ears. NStar and the relevant […]

Nantucket’s school-age population growing, Cape’s shrinking. What’s going on?

“School boom on Nantucket; Student population soars as immigrant population takes root.” Who knew? It was interesting to learn from Saturday’s “Cape Cod Times” front page story that while Cape schools are shrinking, part of the much-lamented youth flight, Nantucket’s are bursting at the seams. “Some public schools on Cape Cod have closed as families […]

Rooting for the deadly underdogs

September averages the busiest month for hurricanes. This year, however, for the second year in a row, the news is the lack of the huge and often deadly storms. You can detect the note of disappointment as weathermen and weather journalists watch those low pressure “waves” coming off the west coast of Africa, encountering hostile […]

Creativity and the bearing of fardels

The meaning of Labor Day, insofar as it means anything these days, is about kicking back, eating hotdogs, drinking beer, in general giving ourselves a “well- earned rest” from our labors. Something like that. Labor is the hard stuff and pleasure is its reward. But there is a school of thought that argues that that’s […]

How badly do we want to save lives on Route 6?

Two bad Route 6 accidents in Wellfleet within three days in mid-August injured several, killed one (the second fatality in two years) and tied up traffic for hours. As we say after every such terrible accident, this is unacceptable. The next selectmen’s meeting focussed on what to about Route 6. As Rep. Sarah Peake, who […]