Cutler Bay

Cutler Bay, county progress in getting golf carts to marina

Wider may be better when it comes to a solution for allowing Cutler Bay’s golf carts access to Black Point Marina.

Cutler Bay’s town council passed an ordinance in November to allow golf carts on all streets within the town except South Dixie Highway and Florida’s Turnpike. The ordinance amended a prior law and now allows for golf cart use on county-owned and maintained roads.

But residents quickly learned that they would not be able to travel to the marina at 24775 SW 87th Ave.

Since then, Mayor Peggy Bell, Vice Mayor Ernie Sochin, the town council, and town staff have worked vehemently with Miami-Dade County officials on finding a solution. The most recent news has the town working with the county’s public works department to possibly widen the current shared-use path to also allow for golf carts.

Currently, golf carts are allowed to travel as far south as Southwest 232 Street, before turning around.

“We are still talking to Miami-Dade County Public Works Department as well as staff from District 8 Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava’s office regarding trying to look at possible solutions of possibly using the shared use path, as I reported to the town council at our council meeting,” Town Manager Ralph Casals said. “Right now, Miami-Dade County Public Works Department is developing plans and exploring the possibility of widening the existing shared use path and seeing what that will cost etc. to try to get the golf carts in a safer traveling environment.”

A county study deemed golf carts unsafe for use on the one-mile stretch of 87th Avenue leading to the marina. Casals said the county reported 15 percent of the traffic on 87th Avenue to be heavy vehicles.

Despite her disappointment with the lack of county support when it came to allowing golf carts on streets, Bell remains hopeful.

“Though disappointed Miami-Dade County did not support our Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava’s environmental efforts to allow golf cart usage on some streets, in particular the street leading to Black Point Marina, we remain hopeful there is a solution to this dilemma,” Bell said. “I believe widening the path will give everyone the ability to travel to this wonderful county amenity and enjoy it’s natural beauty.”

At its last council meeting, Bell suggested adopting landscape in the area to look continuous with the town.

“We all deserve access to Biscayne Bay, whether it is by boat, automobile, bicycle, foot, or even golf cart. What a quiet and peaceful ride it will be. Without the noise of a gasoline engine, we can hear the birds and enjoy the scenery. We hope to partner with the county to provide access to the marina for the many retirees and others who enjoy their carts.”

One business in particular, the Black Point Ocean Grill, has gone on record about the profit loss suffered since losing out on former golf cart customers.

The current shared-use path allows for walking, jogging, and cycling. Casals said the county is currently doing a “conceptual design” of the path and trying to get cost estimates, while making sure the path meets all criteria for path types.

“The whole purpose and the ultimate goal will be traveling to the marina,” Casals said. “At least along that corridor, 87th Avenue corridor not to be confused with Old Cutler bike path. That’s why I wanted to make sure that we talked about that at the [March 16] council meeting.”

Casals said he has a reminder set every month to continue conference calls with the county to continue advancement. But he called the current progress with the county “momentous.” He has had at least four calls with an assistant director in the public works department.

The town has more than 400 golf cart users.

“We are continuing our conversations with the county at this point. I’m pleased that we are going in that type of direction. The ultimate goal is to create a safe environment for golf carts to travel in and get to the destination point.”