With the local election taking place in March, the candidates for City Commission, Seat 4 are sounding off on hot topics, including the idea of golf carts in Tarpon Springs.
City Manager Mark LeCouris acknowledged the benefits but believes that golf carts wouldn't be worth the struggle.
“When you get to the point of golf carts and how many people are going to have them, it isn’t going to be a lot” LeCouris said. “I mean, are we even going to get 50 (registered golf cart drivers) if we do this?”
Captain Jeffrey Young of the Tarpon Springs Police Department pointed out the largest flaw with the possibility, as he sees it.
“One of the big factors that keeps jumping out is the safety of golf carts on public roadways,” explained Young.
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Locals voiced their opinions on Tarpon Springs Patch, too.
Reader Anna writes, "We want golf carts in Tarpon. There is NO reason we cannot follow the ordinances similar to other areas."
Another Patch reader, Patti R., commented with, "I think it should be allowed."
So, where do the Tarpon Springs Commission, Seat 4 hopefuls stand on the issue?
"In my campaign literature, I promote 'Safe Golf Cart Use.' I believe the city needs to develop a plan that allows for golf cart use on city-owned roads. We could look to Dunedin as an example, as they have recently implemented a plan for golf cart use. The plan would need to include safety measures that could include some basic rules such as requiring a drivers license and compliance with traffic safety laws. I also believe allowing golf cart use in Tarpon Springs could help with economic development on several levels (increase use of local businesses, etc.)."
"I firmly believe we should integrate electric golf carts into the mainstream of local neighborhood transportation as long as we adhere to the following;
- Carts must conform to all safety criteria requested by state and local regulators and law enforcement agencies.
- Carts must be registered with those same agencies and include a locate plate or Identification sticker.
Moreover, I believe we must consider golf carts - perhaps more accurately refer to them as ECC's (electric city carts) - as part of a revamped effort to improve our ongoing community walkability design plan, which in this case would combine ECC mini-roadways with newly-widened and improved walk trails. This environmentally friendly mode of transport fits well within the limits of its usability around Tarpon Springs and may just prove to be a model for other enlightened communities."
- Carts must observe all local travel ordinances and may not be allowed on designated main roads as outlined by the city of Tarpon Springs.
"I have looked at communities like Crystal Beach and I am unsure if it could really work here in Tarpon. If we could make selective ordinances for certain neighborhoods or smaller areas where there is not too much through traffic, like how Crystal Beach is, I believe it could work. It does come down to a public safety issue at one end, but if we do it selectively in areas where the risk is minimal, I would be in support."
"I would defer that to the police and the city manager for their input. About a year or so ago, a company wanted to provide golf cart taxis in Tarpon Springs and made a presentation but it did not materialize. I think that it was determined that the roads the city controls are limited and the golf carts could not be used on many of the other roads. I also think that many of the communities that permit golf carts are in golf-based communities where going to the golf course is easier in a golf cart. But I would not be opposed to them if the professionals, meaning our police department and other city services, feel they can handle any issues that may arise from them."
Do you think golf carts belong in Tarpon Springs? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Check out past Patch stories for full coverage of the upcoming city election and where the candidates stand on various local issues.