The one common denominator among most people who talk about the Chappaquiddick Ferry waiting line in the summer months is that no one is happy about it. Some get in line and wait for two hours. Some are trapped in their driveways until the line creeps forward enough to allow them out. Some want it to move faster, some don’t. Some lament the police resources needed to keep tempers from flaring among hot, frustrated drivers. Some don’t even know they’re in it, and when they finally get out, declare it the worst wrong turn ever taken.

The Edgartown planning board began gathering information and suggestions early this month, in the latest attempt to solve, or at least improve the traffic snarl created on Daggett street, Simpson’s Lane, North Water street and Dock street. It happens when the three-car ferry On Time and its sister ship cannot keep up with the demand for those who want to cross the 527-foot channel across Edgartown Harbor to Chappaquiddick.

The latest try at fixing the intractable traffic snarl grew from an organized effort by residents of Simpson’s Lane, who say the line creates unpredictable havoc from June to September on their street, which is 15 feet 4 inches at its narrowest point. Residents of both sides of the street say the ferry line often blocks their driveways, and forces them to wait excessive amounts of time to get to, or leave, their property.

“Sometimes it happens at 8 a.m.” said Dudley Cannada at the meeting. He co-owns rental properties at 44 and 50 North Water street, with vehicle access from Simpson’s Lane. “Usually it happens from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the afternoon. People break out their kegs that they are taking to the beach. Sometimes one of the ferries is taken out of service. That’s a disaster, it’s an automatic disaster on our block,” he said.

He also said residents were concerned about emergency vehicle access, a concern not shared by the town police.

“If there is an emergency, I guarantee you we’re going to clear the road, and it’s not going to be a problem,” said David Rossi, who has since been named police chief. “It might be a problem for the people in line, but we’re going to clear the road.”

Mr. Cannada offered proposals for long and short-term solutions. He said residents of the street want to institute a reservation system for the ferry next year. For this summer, they suggested the cars waiting on Daggett street form a double line down the one-direction public street.

Ferry owner Peter Wells said he thought it was not a workable solution, but offered to organize a trial run. Planning board member Robert Sparks asked if a day or a week of double lines would reveal whether it was a viable alternative. Mr. Wells said it would take about 10 minutes.

“You’re asking a lot of human beings,” Mr. Wells said. “You’re asking a lot of them to be in a single line.”

On Monday, May 11, Mr. Wells invited planning board members, Simpson’s Lane residents, and police to Daggett street to try out a two-lane system.

The experiment didn’t last much longer than 10 minutes, and problems became apparent well before that.

Mr. Wells was reluctant to direct traffic on the public way, citing liability issues.

“Not without a police officer,” he said. “I’m not going to be responsible for these cars. This has to work on its own.”

The first car directed to form the double lane line was a shiny red Corvette with Wisconsin plates, which drew some concern about the possibility of scratched paint. But with a mirror folded in, the car pulled up even with another vehicle. Each had about six inches of room to spare on the outside curbs, and about 18 inches between the two vehicles.

By the luck of the shuffling line, two utility trucks pulled up side by side further up the line, with even less margin. Mr. Rossi, coordinating the line near North Water street, had to climb over and around one of the trucks to return to the front of the queue. Later he noted that the experiment demonstrated that the public way was all but impassable to pedestrians.

After just two ferry trips, a question arose from one of the drivers about who was first in line. Mr. Wells turned to the group.

“Okay, what do we do now,” he asked. “Anger is a big issue.”

People had differing opinions on the benefit of the informal trial run.

“I think it was a successful experiment, just in the fact that the street is wider and it can handle two cars side by side,” said Tim O’Connell, a Simpson’s Lane property owner. Both he and Simpson’s Lane resident Jonathan Chatinover thanked Mr. Wells and the planning board for the demonstration.

“The fact that they’re willing to try it is terrific,” Mr. Chatinover said.

On another recent morning the confusion among people trying to form a ferry line was evident, even before the line backed up onto Simpson’s Lane.

A yellow Jeep was parked at the first spot in the waiting lane on Simpson’s Lane. The driver was nowhere in sight. A loaded lumber truck pulled up behind the unoccupied Jeep and waited. The truck driver was unable to see that there was room on Daggett street. When notified by a resident, the lumber delivery driver pulled around the jeep with some difficulty, and then with more difficulty, maneuvered around a delivery truck parked in a loading zone in front of the Edgartown Inn, before making the turn onto Daggett street. The shrill beeping of the truck’s backup warning single pierced the quiet of the morning.

Mr. O’Connell watched the whole thing with frustration. He questioned whether regulations about parking, vehicle size and idling engines are being overlooked. He said legal action has been talked about, but doesn’t think taking the issue to court is necessary. “The bottom line is it doesn’t work,” he said.

Mr. O’Connell developed the Simpson’s Lane property, which formerly housed the Shiretown Inn, a restaurant, and other rental properties. In 2007, he went to the planning board with a proposal to divide two irregularly shaped lots into seven building lots. The plan eliminated a driveway off North Summer street, which allowed property owners and guests to avoid Simpson’s Lane. He said the loss of the driveway doesn’t affect the current problem.

Among the letters to the planning board and selectmen, many are from Chappaquiddick residents with a common theme. They fear changing the current traffic configuration would make it more time consuming for them to get to their homes.

“When owners on Simpson’s bought or inherited their properties it was with the full knowledge theirs was along the ferry line car route,” wrote Jonathan Cobb. “I ask that you not cause great inconvenience for Chappaquiddick residents and visitors to our island because of a few well connected town residents who don’t like lines of cars in front of the rentals, B&Bs, and homes.”

Other ideas have surfaced during the planning board discussions, including the possibility of a third ferry dedicated to bicycles and pedestrian traffic during the busy summer months. Mr. Wells said loading pedestrians and bicyclists can take a few extra minutes per trip, and significantly increases the traffic backups. He hopes to eventually build a third ferry to service Chappaquiddick and said he would dedicate that ferry to bicyclists and pedestrians in the summer months.

Another idea raised was a smaller vessel, similar to the bike ferry that operates across the channel from Menemsha to Lobsterville Beach, that would carry bicyclists and people from a berth on Memorial Wharf.

Also suggested was establishing public transportation to reduce the number of vehicles traveling to Chappaquiddick. Mr. Wells said a bus route that loops around Chappaquiddick roads to popular destinations, might be a viable solution.

Yet another proposal involves stopping vehicles waiting in line on Pease’s Point Way, and have an attendant send them through with a printed pass when notified by radio that there is room on Daggett street to queue up.

The planning board will study all the proposed solutions, and make a recommendation to selectmen. Selectmen plan to schedule a public hearing before making any decisions.