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Nantucket Planning and Economic Development Commission

The island of Nantucket accommodates a heavy volume of bicycle traffic. Much of this traffic is accommodated on bicycle paths.

Existing facilities

Nantucket has a number of existing bicycle facilities, namely:

Surfside Bicycle Path

This path, built around 1980, parallels Surfside Road to Surfside Beach on the south shore of the island. It does not extend all the way to the end of Surfside Road at Vesper Lane in downtown Nantucket.

Milestone Bicycle Path

This path, also built around 1980, extends the length of Milestone Road from the Rotary, at the intersection of Milestone Road, Old South Road, Orange Street and Sparks Avenue in downtown Nantucket to Siasconset, a village at the east end of the island.

Madaket Bicycle Path

This path, built in 1987, extends from the west end of Main Street in the downtown of Nantucket to the west end of the island.

Polpis Bicycle Path

This is scheduled for construction in the fall of 1995. It runs from the intersection of Milestone Road and Polpis Road to Siasconset, along the south side of Polpis Road.

Cliff Road Bicycle Path

This path, built in 1988, runs from the west end of downtown Nantucket along Cliff Road to its junction with Madaket Road and Eel Point Road.

Ferry Service

Car ferries travel between Nantucket and Woods Hole year round, and Hyannis in the tourist season. Passenger ferries travel between Nantucket and Hyannis as well as Martha’s Vineyard and Harwich in the tourist season. All carry passengers’ bicycles.

Proposed projects

Nantucket proposes several additions to its network of bicycle facilities.

Bicycle routes and paths in downtown Nantucket

The major traffic bottleneck is in downtown Nantucket, where visitors arrive and leave via the ferries. Several proposals for bicycle routes and paths would connect the ferry docks with the outskirts of the downtown area.

South Central Island

Paths along Old South Road and Nobadeer Farm Road would connect downtown Nantucket with the airport. A path along Fairground Road would link the Milestone and Surfside Road paths. A path along Somerset Road would connect Surfside Road with Hummock Pond Road. Hummock Pond Road is proposed as an on-road bicycle route, in the long term possibly with a parallel path.

Western Island

Improvements are proposed to the Madaket Road Bike Path, as is a new path along Eel Point Road as far as Dionis Beach, to be constructed in two stages.

Eastern Island

New paths are proposed adjacent to Quidnet, Tom Nevers, and New South roads; improvements are proposed to the Milestone Road Bike Path.

Nantucket Region priorities

The priorities reviewed in discussions at the public meetings held during the process of compiling this bicycle facilities inventory reflect the priorities set in the Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan for Nantucket completed and endorsed by the Nantucket Planning and Economic Development Commission (NP&EDC) in November 1994.

1) All participants at the meeting agreed that the first priority was improvements within the downtown of Nantucket. The improvements proposed in the Master Plan were for bike routes in the downtown. At the meeting, a consensus was reached that bicycle parking facilities are needed, and that these parking facilities should be dispersed throughout downtown Nantucket. The bicycle facilities improvements within the downtown should coordinate with the plans for a shuttle bus system so that people may bring their bicycles to town on the buses. Also, perimeter parking lots would allow people to bring bicycles on cars and ride into the downtown.

Several plans for bicycle routes in the downtown have been proposed. Further study is needed to settle on a preferred alternative.

2) The second priority, as seen by project staff , was for improvements to the heavily used Madaket Road Path. Discussion in the meeting on April 6, 1995, expanded this to a recommendation for maintenance and improvements to all Nantucket bicycle paths. One meeting attendee expressed concerns about pavement deterioration and sand on the paths. It was also suggested that signage and pavement markings could be improved.

These concerns led to a discussion of coordination and citizen input. It was suggested and discussed that a liaison within the Department of Public Works would be assigned to coordinate and address concerns with the bike paths.

A commenter also expressed a desire to reduce automobile speed limits.

3) The following priorities for additional paths were developed from written comments received from the Nantucket Planning and Economic Development Commission:

  • Right-of-way acquisition, design and construction of the Eel Point Road Bike Path
  • Design of the Old South Road Bike Path
  • Completion of the Nobadeer Farm Road Bike Path to the Airport

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