After extensive public input last summer, the transportation committee working on redesign of the Chappaquiddick Point has come up with a final design. This spring, a roundabout will be built where the traffic from the ferry, the waiting line, the main road, and the parking lot converge. Cars and bicycles should flow smoothly in and out of the circle, solving the congestion problem in the area right in front of the ferry. Walk-on passengers will be discouraged, as there is no real solution for those on foot. The idea is to keep traffic flowing, so the TTOR and Chappy Beach Club vans will continue circling the roundabout until all their passengers have arrived.
Because of concern about the rural character of the island, rosa rugosa will be planted around the edge of the center circle. Inter-planted bittersweet will grow out in all directions to engulf the roses, similar to the native vegetation next to the ferry waiting line. The Land Bank has offered some of their prominent, hand-carved, extra-tall directional posts to tell people which way to the main road, ferry beach, parking lot, etc., so first-time visitors can get oriented to the things they’re seeing in front of them.
While the roundabout is being built, trips to town will need to be limited. Partly to that end, the selectmen have designated the month of April as “Chappy Good Old Days.” The ferry will run each day from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. For other crossing times, you may want to find a dinghy. Telephone service will return to party lines; you’ll find out who you’re sharing a line with (one to three other households) when you go to make a call. Please keep your calls short, and be respectful of others’ privacy — don’t listen in on other people’s calls (or at least, cover the mouth piece so they can’t hear you).
Each week, the electricity will be turned off for approximately 24 hours — on an undisclosed schedule — similar to the amount of time the power used to go out. Only actual handwritten letters will be delivered by the post office during the month. All junk mail will be collected and burned in a huge bonfire at the old dump site in the woods behind the firehouse. This is where you’ll be taking your trash for the month; please put anything usable to the side for others to pick through.
Chappy Good Old Days would be a good time to do whatever you want on your property. As in the old days, the building inspector and board of health won’t be checking up on things over here unless your neighbors complain. Be sure to finish by the time the month is over, so if your project isn’t quite legal, it will already be a done deal and they’ll have to allow it.
Since the main road has disintegrated so badly this past winter, the highway department will send over the asphalt grinder to pulverize what remains of the tar road, something certain residents have been proponents of for years. After that, we shouldn’t be seeing any more highway department trucks for the month. With the road returning to dirt, the use of horses as transportation may become popular again, so a hitching post will be set up near the ferry house, where you can leave your horse for up to four hours.
Because the shorter ferry hours will produce longer waiting lines, the legions of landscapers may find it difficult to get over to Chappy to do their jobs. Therefore, starting April first, horses, goats, cattle and other grazing animals will be swum over from town at the Narrows, and let loose on the island to forage for themselves, as in the old days. For the month of April, the grazing animals will take over the arduous and expensive work of maintaining the island’s rural character. The leash law will be suspended, so a sort of Lord-of-the-Flies regime may be established among the animals. Just remember, by law any dogs bothering livestock will be shot.
Some other news from the animal front is that Slip Away Farm has decided the best way to survive financially, as well as to serve the island, is to build a CAFO (concentrated animal feeding operation). The EPA has already visited the farm and approved their waste management system. Slurry from the animal manure will spread over all island open spaces, including front lawns, thereby enriching the sandy soil with nitrogen. Thank you, Slip Aways! The farm will begin operations this summer with the caretaking of three pygmy goats.
In other news, the Chappy cell committee has been trying to interest cell service carriers in a distributed antennae system (DAS), with little luck. Island residents are determined to persevere, the general feeling being that a regular cell tower would not fit in with the rural character, and besides, nobody wants one in their back yard. Due to the lack of success in finding cell companies for the DAS — and the concern about the health effects of cell phones in general — on April 1 the committee will announce their intent to back semaphore and smoke signals as the wave of the future.
Because weather can be so darn unpredictable, the community center has decided to hold their sailing classes in Brine’s Pond this summer. On the rare windless day, a turbofan will be set up in the field above the pond to keep the Sunfish moving. A side benefit to the move is that the company insuring the CCC will lower their rates by 50 per cent, since rescue personnel and vehicles will be able to reach any sailor in trouble within 1.5 seconds. Other community center news from the board is a request that, for the remainder of the potluck season, people bring only desserts. Rumor has it that some people don’t attend potlucks because they’ve heard the food is way too healthy.
Finally, due to the frequent storms, wind, and inclement weather this past winter — as well as the prediction of more severe weather from climate change — the National Weather Service will start naming mild and sunny days instead of storms. They’ll choose pet names for these days, beginning in April with Aggy, Bowser and Chi-Chi, which should take us well into June.
Thanks to Peter Wells and Sidney Morris for help with this column. The next couple of weeks will be Peter’s turn, and I’ve heard that he plans to subcontract the writing to Abby, Emily and Erin, his granddaughters, so please get any news to them, written in large capital letters, preferably with colorful markers.
Also, really, don’t forget the Spring Egg Hunt and Tea at the community center on Saturday, March 30 at 4 p.m. The next CCC potluck is Wednesday, April 3, starting at 6 p.m. with appetizers, hosted by Annie Heywood. People and foods of all varieties are welcome.