Among the challenges that the city staff and residents faced when reviewing the south access into Highlander Park was the blending of vehicular traffic such as Golf Carts and eBikes on a trail and sidewalk intended for pedestrians. Other issues included reports of noise with the passing carts, and the potential risk of children or off-leash pets being hit by passing golf carts.
These concerns weighed heavily on residents whose homes are located directly adjacent to the sidewalk that runs from the bridge up into the park. One resident even began a petition in an effort to protect pedestrians.
Both the cart-driving residents and the city staff agree that no one wants to encourage driving a vehicle on a sidewalk or where people are picnicking or playing. In fact, there are currently no sidewalks in the City of Dunedin where motor vehicles like golf carts can legally travel.
In the spirit of cooperation, city staff was able to develop a solution that prevents carts from operating anywhere inside the park’s green spaces, including all sidewalks and pedestrian trails inside the park, and protecting public safety without seriously compromising access to residents. This redirection will also eliminate any concerns of noise by removing the traffic flow that could contribute to it.
The key was to utilize the utility / service road. There is a service / utility road just outside of the limits of both Highlander Park and Hammock park which the City and the Parks & Rec department currently use for maintenance access and to move equipment and personnel via their own LSVs and utility vehicles.
The City proposes placing bollards immediately north of the Cedar Creek bridge preventing cart traffic from navigating north on the trail or into the park, pool area and splash park areas. Instead carts will make an immediate left turn onto the dirt service road and navigate outside of both parks. This dirt road runs behind the fences that enclose both Highlander park and the ball fields ultimately ending at Harvard Ave. From there, vehicles can travel northward on Harvard Avenue.
This first view shows how this looks on a map:
These views show how this would look from above:
This proposal really underscores how carting and non-carting residents were willing to come together with the city to achieve a solution that meets everyone’s needs and still protects our parks and our public’s safety. This is the Dunedin spirit and what truly sets our residents apart from other cities.
The public record for this proposal was presented at the November 13th, 2018 public commission meeting. You can review that record by clicking the links below, directly from the city archive:
Agenda Link <Click here>