If you’re a long-timer of this golf cart community group, you’ll remember when Dunedin first introduced Article VI to Chapter 74 of our City Code of Ordinances in 2011. For the first time Dunedin residents could begin enjoying the street-legal use of golf carts within our city limits in a defined set of zones. Later that year, on the patio at Rosie’s Tavern, a small handful of residents united to create the golf cart community group Dunedin Goes Carting. Our first Christmas golf cart parade was designed not only for fun, but to bring golf cart-driving residents together. Together we stayed; nine years later, nearly 1400 people that stay connected and at varied times, as their schedules permit, participating as a group.
In 2014, Joan Rice, several cart-driving resident volunteers, and others formed a task force to review opportunities to expand the legal cart zones. They also wanted to create a legal crossing of 580. Despite a significant amount of effort, the attempt was overruled by FDOT. Joan Rice and others did their very best to think outside of the box to meet the resident’s request. This led to the 2014 cart ordinance amendment that legalized the crossing of Alt. 19, twice, as the only available alternative to connect the south end of Dunedin to the North end. Everyone… The city commissioners, the city staff, the residents, law enforcement… were still getting used to this relatively new challenge in our city, but the feedback was enormously positive overall.
Over the years new businesses opened in our city bringing more activity, and street-legal golf cart operation found itself cemented in the culture and the economics of Dunedin. We’ve grown, we’ve learned, we’ve changed. There’s been mistakes, there’s been challenges, and there’s been major benefits; but the city and our residents have not given up. Collectively, we are all striving to be better and to evolve as our city and our unique culture evolves.
For more than a year now, residents, business owners, commissioners, Dunedin Goes Carting members, the FDOT, City staff, our county commissioner Dave Eggers, and our city’s traffic consultant Jerry Dabkowski, have all been working on the next major upgrade to Dunedin’s Golf Cart Ordinance. During the last 14 months we’ve had two PUBLIC golf cart resident meetings, and a couple of PUBLIC visioning sessions (held at the Hospital) where cart navigation was considered among the Complete Streets project. You’ve been hearing that this announcement will come soon… Well, It’s finally here!
The introduction of the 2019 Golf Cart ordinance amendment will happen this July 2019, and it is one of the largest and most comprehensive amendments to the golf cart ordinance since its inception. You can expect to see these major points:
- A new east Dunedin Golf Cart Zone, adding nearly all the area north of SR-580, east of CR-1 to Belcher Road, up to Brady Dr.
- At least three new legal crossings of CR-1, north of 580.
- A new crossing of Alt. 19 at San Jose Dr.
- Final resolution on the south pathway of Highlander Park, and the two access bridges.
- Changes to protect pedestrians, park green-space, child safety, and to preserve neighbor peace at south Highlander Park.
- Fixes that restore navigation for residents in the Lake Haven, Angle Road areas
- The addition and definition of “shared roadway” zones on south Patricia and Virginia. These modifications strike a careful compromise that fix crossing issues and allow navigation downtown, without placing carts on long stretches of high-volume roads like Virginia and south Patricia. Both low-speed cart drivers and normal vehicle drivers will appreciate this sectioned approach as a way to enjoy your freedom but reduce the impact to normal vehicle drivers traveling at higher speeds.
- Clear and definitive resolution on the intersection of Broadway, Main St. and Alt. 19 (by Strachan’s Ice Cream). The guessing ends, everyone will be on the same page.
- Changes to help protect child passenger safety on street-legal carts.
- An expanded legal cart zone for the Scotsdale area, with ability to legally navigate to the downtown core.
- The reduction of traffic on Victoria Dr. – neighbors on Victoria will appreciate this; your golf cart shocks and suspension will appreciate it too. You will however still be able to legally travel on Victoria if you want to see the sunsets or reminisce at the Victoria Street crater.
- A new and far more detailed golf cart zone map.
- The crown jewel: A legal crossing of Skinner/580 at Bass Blvd. using the traffic signal.
There were one or two items that we could not yet achieve, but that doesn’t mean it stops here. It simply means that we need to stay agile, connected, and aware of the changing world around us so that we can continue to improve and meet the needs of the residents.
This amendment proposal incorporates more than a year of public input and effort on part of city staff and others. It equally addresses safety, navigational improvements, use-compromises, and will ultimately create a Dunedin that is 93% navigable by street-legal golf cart. While this is truly the most strategic improvement for low-speed personal mobility in our city, it is just another step in our city’s evolution of being the town that everyone wants to live in, play in, and preserve.