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Martha's Vineyard Commission

Martha’s Vineyard presents a unique and challenging situation regarding bicycle transportation. The bicycling population is very diverse, and every summer season brings an influx of visitors to the island, many of whom bring or rent bicycles. The island’s transportation infrastructure is heavily stressed during the summer tourist season.

Existing facilities

The following proposals and descriptions of existing facilities on Martha’s Vineyard have been submitted to the bicycle facilities inventory. Facilities funded for construction though not yet built are also described as "existing" for purposes of this project.

Bicycle trails:

The island has a number of existing bicycle trails, some of which are due for upgrading.

State Forest Bicycle Trails

These trails run in a loop in the State Forest at the center of the island, with extensions funded for construction eastward along Edgartown-West Tisbury Road and north to the Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road along Airport Road.

Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road path

This path, built in the early 1980’s, extends from the outskirts of Vineyard Haven to the junction of Main Street and the Edgartown-West Tisbury Road in Edgartown.

Katama Road path

This path extends from the outskirts of Edgartown to South Beach, on the south shore of the island. It was built in the late 1980’s.

Beach Road path

This path parallels Beach Road between Oak Bluffs and Edgartown on the inland side. It was built in the 1970’s and rebuilt in the late 1980’s. It does not extend all the way to the town center of Oak Bluffs at the north end. It connects with the Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road path at the south end.

County Road and Beach Road path

This path, funded for construction, connects Beach Road at the east end of Vineyard Haven with Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road and provides access to Oak Bluffs from inland.

In-town bicycle routes

Vineyard Haven and Edgartown have designated bicycle routes on streets, connecting with through roads and paths outside the town centers.


Ferries run between Martha’s Vineyard and New Bedford, Woods Hole, Falmouth, Hyannis and Nantucket. A ferry also connects Chappaquiddick Island to downtown Edgartown, and another crosses Menemsha Harbor near the western end of Martha’s Vineyard. Only the Chappaquiddick Island ferry and the ferries connecting with Woods Hole transport motor vehicles, but all of the ferries transport bicycles.

Proposed projects

The following proposals have been submitted to the bicycle facilities inventory.

Vineyard Haven town line to State Forest

A path is proposed adjacent to Old County Road Road in West Tisbury to connect Vineyard Haven with the paths in the State Forest. The part in Tisbury is already slated for construction. Several alternative proposals were offered by citizens at the second public meeting.

State Road from Old County Road to Indian Hill Road

A proposed path would branch from the route to the State Forest and lead toward North Road. West Tisbury citizens have proposed an alternative routing using Ancient Ways (disused roads). This proposal is part of a proposed route to Menemsha and Gay Head (see next item).

West Tisbury, Chilmark, Gay Head: North Road

Suggestions were received for a bicycle facility connecting State Road with the ferry across Menemsha Harbor. The type of facility has not been determined as of yet. It may be a bicycle route on the road, or a path.

Oak Bluffs-Edgartown: power line right of way

The proposal is for a path along the eastern boundary of the State Forest, connecting the Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road with West Tisbury Road.

Chappaquiddick Island

A path is proposed to parallel Chappaquiddick Road from the ferry dock to Wasque Road.

Edgartown: Herring Creek Road and Atlantic Avenue

A path is proposed to parallel these roads between the Edgartown center and South Beach.

Vineyard Haven/Ancient Ways Access

A citizen has suggested an alternate route between Vineyard Haven and Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road, via Lagoon Pond Road and Weaver Lane, and potentially for access to ancient ways (disused roads) to the west of Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road.

Road improvements and signage

Several citizens proposed "share the road" signage and improvements to provide consistent lane width for bicycle routes on roads.

Martha’s Vineyard region priorities

Martha’s Vineyard has several very diverse bicycling populations. A very large percentage of bicycling is conducted by tourists, and the level of bicycle use is far higher during the summer tourist season than at other seasons when weather is still no obstacle to bicycle use. Resident bicyclists, resident non-bicyclists, experienced and novice bicycle tourists all perceive priorities very differently. The range of opinion on the Vineyard was very wide, but it is the Martha’s Vineyard Commission which must approve the priorities for this report. The final choice of priorities approved by the Martha’s Vineyard Commission is as follows.

1) To see existing proposals approved by the EOTC through to construction. These include projects in Tisbury, West Tisbury and Edgartown.

2) To extend the system of paths in the Martha’s Vineyard State Forest, including a path in the power line right of way between Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road and Edgartown-West Tisbury Road along the eastern boundary of the State Forest.

3) To develop a bicycle route or path from Vineyard Haven to Menemsha. As stated earlier, the type of facility has not yet been determined.

4) To examine the possible use of Ancient Ways as bicycle routes, where feasible.

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