FOLEY – Expansion of the streets where golf carts are allowed should increase connectivity around the city for residents wanting alternatives to standard cars and trucks.
The Foley City Council voted Monday, May 15 to approve a first reading of an ordinance that would allow golf carts on sections of Oak Street, Pine Street and West Roosevelt Avenue in the area west of Alabama 59.
The ordinance is scheduled for a final vote on Monday, June 5.
Golf carts are allowed on several Foley streets and alleys, such as the area near the South Baldwin Regional Medical Center. Mayor Ralph Hellmich said the addition would provide more access for golf cart and low-speed vehicle drivers, particularly for drivers going north and south.
“We’ve had some people ask for north-south connectivity. We took the alley approach and that’s all east and west in old Foley,” Hellmich said. “This will close the gap with connectivity.”
The mayor said the city is not expected to add many additional streets to the routes where golf carts are allowed after this action. He said the streets being considered are suited to golf carts, but some other areas of Foley have too much traffic for the vehicles to be safe.
“We’ve talked about other areas in Foley, but there’re really no other areas in Foley that has this type of unique situation,” Hellmich said. “On the southeast side of Foley, they’re isolated subdivisions where you have higher-speed roads so I don’t envision at this time, any other movement toward streets.”
Hellmich said other streets in the older section of Foley, such as Cedar Street, have too much traffic for golf carts to be allowed.
Under the plan, the speed limit on the designated areas of the streets would be decreased to 25 miles an hour. Under state law, golf carts cannot be allowed on streets with a limit of more than 25 miles an hour.
“Basically we’ll be lowering the speed limit to 25 miles an hour,” Hellmich said. “I don’t think that will be noticeable to a lot of people and then it will allow the use of golf carts”
Another form of alternate transportation is low-speed vehicles, David Wilson, public safety director, said. Low speed vehicles have more safety features than golf carts, but also must be registered in the same manner as a car or truck. Wilson said low speed vehicles are allowed on more streets than golf carts.
“They can go anywhere as long as it’s 35 miles an hour or below,” Wilson said. “Golf carts can only go legally on these streets that have been approved and the speed limit dropped and the designation.”
Wilson said anyone operating a low-speed vehicle or golf cart on a Foley street must be a licensed driver. All other city and state vehicles laws, such as the penalties for drunk driving, also still apply.
Under the ordinance, areas where limits would be reduced to allow golf carts could include Oak Street from West Palm Avenue south to West Laurel Avenue. Pine Street would have a 25-mile-an-hour limit from Cahaba Street south to West Azalea Avenue. The change on West Roosevelt Street would be from South McKenzie Street west to Cedar Street.