LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Setting the tone, part one

Fri, 07/29/2022 - 3:00pm

To the Editor,
I have had the great fortune to come to Block Island for 35 years. In recent years, I have been able to be out for the entire month of June, working on my family’s place, riding my bike, walking the greenways and the beaches. I am neither a resident nor a tourist, caught a bit in the middle. While out for a morning ride, I came upon three cyclists, riding side by side in the middle of West Side Road. As I approached, one of the riders said to another, “it is like an amusement park out here.” These words were not drunken day trippers, but probably from renters.
I was immediately struck by how that one phrase crystalizes many of the challenges the island faces; many visitors truly believe that laws, rules and norms do not apply once they get off the boat. The overarching lack of awareness impacts everything on the roads, beaches and sidewalks. The businesses take the brunt of this with a handful of rude customers barraging employees every day. The Town Council meeting trying to address open container infractions (July 25) raised many great points, particularly around changing the tone of what a visit to the island should look and feel like.
The island is a place of beauty and fun, made that much more special when people are aware of their surroundings and being kind to one another.
Recognize when a car is approaching and move over. Look before stepping off the curb on Water Street. Slow down on the roads. Engage others, even in the smallest ways.
Is there a marketing campaign in all of this? Perhaps. Chris Willi mentioned using videos on the boat to get this kind of word out. I say go for it. Block Island is one of the last great places; it is not an amusement park!

David Hale
Beacon Hill Road
and St. Johnsbury, V.T.