Woods Hole Villagers Approve Authority Terminal Concept

A view of the Woods Hole Steamship Authority ferry terminal from the Crane Street bridge. The area has been an issue of contention recently as the authority plans to rebuild the terminal. Woods Hole villagers voiced approval of the most recent designs.SAM HOUGHTON/ENTERPRISE - A view of the Woods Hole Steamship Authority ferry terminal from the Crane Street bridge. The area has been an issue of contention recently as the authority plans to rebuild the terminal. Woods Hole villagers voiced approval of the most recent designs.

The villagers of Woods Hole voiced approval for the latest Steamship Authority feasibility layout for the Woods Hole ferry terminal June 9 in a meeting hosted by the Woods Hole Community Association. Seven months have passed since the contentious meeting in which villagers flat-out opposed the authority’s designs.

“Hearing no extraordinary negativity, unlike November…” said Steven M. Sayers, general counsel for the Steamship Authority, who presented the latest plan called Option E. The audience of approximately 30 Woods Hole villagers cut him off with laughter and some cheers.

“This is much better,” Walter Schanbacher, a resident of Cowdry Road, said. His property abuts the authority lot. “They’ve done a good job.”

Thomas H. Renshaw, who has been a critic of the project, attended the meeting but did not make a comment.

The new feasibility layout is “ironically” similar to what the layout of the terminal is now, Mr. Sayers said.

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The Steamship Authority Board of Governors is expected to approve of the concept next week in Nantucket. Mr. Sayers said that there will be a year of seeking permits before construction can begin. Designers from Bertaux + Iwerks estimate total construction to be $50 million. Mr. Sayers said it was one of the cheapest of the design concepts.

The terminal building in the feasibility layout presented would be located slightly east of where the terminal building is now. It is proposed to be two stories tall and its base will sit 13 feet above the water level to comply with Federal Emergency Management Agency flood zone regulations. Mr. Sayers said that the building will block the view of the ocean that the boats already block. Villagers at past meetings hoped for a better view of Great Harbor and he said that out of the approximately 30 alternative sites to place the building designers had looked at, this was the best.

The authority’s presentation showed a conceptual image of what the terminal building would look like from Woods Hole Road next to the library. Only a tip of the roof was visible behind a tree. Murmurs of approval went through the audience. Chris Iwerks, who designed the feasibility layout, said that the view down Railroad Avenue will be preserved with this new concept as well.

Conceptual designs of the terminal in the past had fill that would be placed into an eastern section of the lot that many villagers opposed because the roofs of buses would be visible from Woods Hole Road and the Crane Street bridge. Only a minimal amount of fill would be needed for this concept.

The Shining Sea Bikeway in the earlier designs would have an incline over the fill of 13 to 16 feet and then there would be a sharp decline into the village. That hill has been erased with this concept.

The taxi and bus waiting area would be placed in the rear of the terminal building. At the last board of governors meeting, Falmouth representative Catherine N. Norton and Martha’s Vineyard representative Mark N. Hanover wanted better access for handicapped passengers. This new concept allows for a shorter distance for passengers exiting taxis and buses.

The vehicle queue for Martha’s Vineyard-bound travelers would be in the rear of the terminal near the Crane Street bridge. Vehicles exiting the terminal after departing from two of the three slips would exit through Cowdry Road at the southern section of the terminal instead of driving through the terminal and out Railroad Avenue.

Mr. Sayers said that there would be less interaction between pedestrians and vehicle traffic.

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