Old Shore Road — it’s the road pictured in the image at the head of this blog (a wide-angle panorama taken at the turn of the 19th century and found in a Churbuck collection somewhere) — connecting Main Street two doors down from my house with the boat ramp, the public bathing beach/dinghy rack at Ropes Beach, the yacht club, and then up the hill to the curve where Putnam Ave swings right and turns briefly into Maple at the broad expanse of the Ropes Field.
The town, at the urging of the Cotuit-Santuit Civic Association, has been focused on Old Shore Road for a couple years. First they banned dinghies and rowboats and hobie cats and sunfishes and paddleboats from hanging around on the beach between November 15 and April 15. They called out the surveyors last year and staked out the parameters of the road leading to some fears it would be widened. Then they started hanging up even more signs prohibiting the parking of boat trailers, and as of this past week, they have officially made the road one-way from Putnam up to Main Street.
I guess I’m supportive. Old Shore Road is being loved to death.
It will suck not being to duck down the hill in the car on my way to Hyannis or the grocery store to take a quick look at my boats to make sure all is well and the bilge pumps are keeping up with the rainwater. Two way traffic is a disaster on the narrow road, especially during weekends and busy times such as when a hurricane approaches and everyone re-learns how to back up a trailer on the nice new (relatively new) boat ramp installed over the old sandy spot a decade ago. The stretch along the beach is nearly impassable on a sunny summer afternoon as boaters, rubberneckers, pedestrians, cyclists, dog walkers and the handful of residents off of the road try to make their way from one end to another.
[Can I say a word about the proliferation of signage down there? There has to be over three dozen different town signs along Old Shore Road — everything from stop signs to parking signs to don’t refuel your boat signs, eastern blue crab season, no trailers, a long list of beach regulations, no dinghy warnings, handicapped parking ….. on and on and on. The visual blight is astonishing. Come on. We can do away with 90 percent I bet. ]
In the end the situation is understandable. There is precious little public beach front in Cotuit and this is spot is the main attraction for boaters, fishermen, sailors and clammers (along with the Town Dock). As the harbor becomes more and more crowded and the inland population of the Cape becomes more insulated and walled off from the water, any aperture with access is going to feel more and more pressure. Personally? I’d make it pedestrian only except for residents and people launching boats with no parking anywhere. Ropes Beach — once a pristine little bathing beach with pretty lifeguards and a bathhouse, and a water fountain — is a dilapidated place for people to park and walk their dogs out to Handy’s Point (the dog-mitt dispenser for turds is missing and special thanks to the dog walkers who leave their little knotted bags in the beach grass). Come summer the beach is taken over by the sailing classes at the yacht club, and every year the place gets closed down due to excessive bacteria run-offs following rain storms.
It isn’t going back to the way it was, but at least the “one-way-ification” may take off some of the pressure from the rubbernecking motorists.