In a Miami-Dade County transit and mobility committee meeting Monday, commissioners instructed Mayor Carlos Gimenez to prepare a plan for the use of golf carts on county roadways within municipalities that have allowed the use of such carts on their roads, and report to the board.
The commissioners’ decision was based on the argument that the move will not only help in addressing traffic problems in the county but that the carts are also energy efficient.
“I have wondered why for a number of years we had not done it here in Miami-Dade County. In Key West, that’s all you see,” Commissioner Barbara Jordan said. “It’s really a saver in terms of traffic congestion because normally someone can jump on a cart to go to the grocery store as opposed to jumping into a car.”
The commission’s directive comes at a time of increasing traffic on most roads in the county.
Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava said residents in her district asked her to support the motion because they want to use the vehicles for their energy efficiency.
“Around the county and indeed the county, there is a growing interest in the use of battery-powered vehicles,” she said. “These vehicles are energy efficient. I mean they are emission free and they want to increase their use on all roads in their municipal council.
Cava further moved an amendment to cater for the safety of the users.
“I think the concerns are about safety,” she said. “I am willing to amend the item to include a directive that the coming plan includes a safety education component for the benefit of users and a baseline safety standard for these vehicles.”
One of the issues that the mayor’s report is expected to address is the specifications of the carts to be allowed, the specific roads where the carts can be used and who could be allowed to drive them.
In Tallahassee, for instance, carts are allowed on two-way roads.
Although in support of the motion, Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz cautioned that the commission should look more into the type of vehicles to be used and the age of drivers.
“I support the study. We need to look at the type of the vehicle and the drivers who drive it because the risky thing would be having minors driving,” he said.
He further noted that Key West is not a good example of how the carts can help in solving the traffic problem because of the high speeds in Miami-Dade County — as opposed to the average speed in Key West where “the average speed is 15 to 20 miles per hour.”