Sustainable transportation Nantucket style

Nantucket Island is off the coast of Massachusetts, and is known for being a summer tourist destination.  Since it’s an island–not quite 50 square miles, with somewhat less than 10,000 permanent residents, and a summer population closer to 50,000–it’s expensive to take cars there ($140 or more each way by ferry), and it is space-constrained.  Not unlike the Arlington County Master Transportation Plan, the transportation element of the Nantucket Comprehensive Community Plan aims to encourage trips by other than the automobile, by walking, bicycling, and transit. From the plan:

As the island becomes more accessible and increasing numbers of people come through our air and sea gateways, concern grows over the corresponding crowding and traffic congestion. Yet there is also an opportunity. What ultimately determines traffic congestion is how many cars are here and how often and where they are used. Visitors arriving on fast ferries and in airplanes are not bringing cars with them, but many vacation-home owners and seasonal residents own cars that stay on-island. As the number of cars garaged on Nantucket increases, keeping visitors and residents out of those cars becomes more of a challenge. To reduce the impact of traffic congestion on our quality of life, we must continue our efforts to restore Nantucket to a place where life without a car is possible, pleasurable, and convenient.

Those efforts include:

the creation of, and aggressively market, an efficient and coordinated system of largely non-automobile-dependent transportation modes, from point-of-departure to point-of-arrival for the purpose of reducing the numbers of automobiles both on-island and at mainland ports.

Maybe that’s a war on cars. Or just a logical way to manage mobility, the utilization of public space, and the overall quality of life on the Island.

Speaking of the war on tourists, Nantucket and certain other communities in Massachusetts charge a small embarkation fee (50 cents) on each leg of ferry trips to and from their ports.