We may not have any golf courses in the city, but we will have golf carts legally sharing the roads beginning June 1st. Cart owners will be able to get a registration sticker provided that their golf cart meets minimal safety standards.
The ordinance is not perfect, but I believe it is an excellent first step in recognizing that we have quite a few residents who would prefer to tool around town in one of these tiny vehicles.
Staff, in the interest of safety, wanted to restrict these vehicles from a number of roads. We trimmed that list, leaving the most dangerous roads (eg. Congress Street) as “no-go” streets for golf carts. I suspect that we will adjust the list in a few months, once we’ve got some experience with how these vehicles effect the traffic flow around the city.
The next steps will be to seek reciprocity with the city of Port Richey and then to jointly approach FDOT to get permission for the carts to cross US 19 at designated intersections. The goals will be to allow you to travel from New Port Richey all the way to the Port Richey waterfront and Brasher Park.
To the extent that the golf carts slow traffic a bit, they will make the streets safer for cyclists and pedestrians. In my opinion, that is not a bad thing.
The passage of this ordinance is a textbook example of how government is supposed to work. With urging from various council members, staff drafted a proposed ordinance. Then, with input from the public, the city council discussed the issue. Council members came into the discussion with different viewpoints and yet we came up with a compromise solution that everybody could live with. Perfect? No, but not bad either.
There have been a number of other examples in recent years as well. The upgrades to Sims Park sparked some animated discussions, especially about where to locate the playground. A majority of council members eventually agreed on how to move forward. The final result took some time to hash out, but I believe you will agree that we came up with something that the entire city can be very proud of.
Current discussions about the proposed urban farming ordinance and proposed improvements to the Rec. Center show that the five members of council have very different views on these two issues. I am confident that we will eventually arrive at a consensus on both issues that will work. Compromise is NOT a dirty word in New Port Richey.
Even when we disagree, we walk out of city hall at the end of the meetings ready to come back and work together do our best for the city the next time. We respect each other and recognize that disagreements simply mean that we see different solutions to the issues facing the city.
Compare what happens here with the dysfunction you see in Washington and you start to understand why we’ve been able to make some significant progress over the past few years while Washington has been stuck in gridlock.
Rob Marlowe, Mayor