GALVESTON

City council discussion last week about banning golf carts from Seawall Boulevard delighted drivers who loathe the slow-moving vehicles, but it worried companies that rent them to tourists and islanders who use them for transportation.

Keri Heath: 409-683-5241; keri.heath@galvnews.com or on Twitter @HeathKeri.

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(39) comments

Mary Moore

On the Strand I have seen where golf carts are wedged in sideways between 2 cars making it impossible for the 2 legally parked cars to move. This has happened to my husband and myself. If a regular car parked sideways, it would be hauled off especially if it was blocking other vehicles. Are parking tickets even given to golf carts?

REGINALD LACKEY

I see the golf cart on Seawall matter as a safety issue primarily. Frankly when I see pets and kids hanging off a cart it scares me because the eventual result is clear. Please ban them from Seawall before something we regret gappens.

Jeannette Guest

Just enforce the rules already in place,makes more sense,police wrote over $5k in tickets last weekend , cash cow for the city.

Kyle Gainer-Lewis

You do know cars go off the Seawall on a somewhat regular bases. Maybe ban cars & trucks? How about ticket people breaking the law including & especially people going over 35!

Michael Basham

I make the following observations: Whether on the Seawall or Downtown the operators and passengers are generally having a good time, distracted, drinking (alcohol) and/or engaged in parades, or some other social function. There seems to me to be no parallel concern by law enforcement to scrutinize the conditions of either the operator or passengers unless there is an incident (accident). Operators of golf carts generally do not observe any similar rules of the road. They park anywhere and anyway they can. They will pass between any space big enough to squeeze thru. They don't recognize the confines of a designated (marked) lane. Many are covered in distracting devices, flags and "stuff". They make unusual and unpredictable moves in traffic because they are more agile. Just my .02 cents. Spend it any way you want. My residence is elevated from the street, and I see things from a different perspective.

Theresa Elliott

Residents and visitors alike have come to really enjoy the golf cart experience. They are no more dangerous than a motorcycle or those slingshots. They go slow which is sometimes a good thing to slow down those who tend to

speed. I wonder how many accidents they have really caused to be so dangerous? The golf cart business owners have invested heavily in a popular commodity, let’s not over regulate another business out of business.

Trudy Deen Davis

Let's not allow a tragic event to occur with golf carts and THEN change the rules. The difference between them and motorcycles or slingshots is these forms of transportation can move along with traffic at regular speeds. They also have safety equipment such as helmets and seatbelts. I am not seeing golf cart riders using safety equipment. I echo many of the sentiments in the article about children crowded on carts and driving in areas where they are prohibited. With a busy summer upon the island, it is imperative that the city modify the mistake they made in changing the speed limit on Seawall which allows golf carts to multiply in heavy summer traffic when drivers are distracted by attractions, the Gulf and the beach.

Don Schlessinger

Ever ask yourself why traffic on Seawall Blvd in your lane is traveling at 5 mph with 10 or 12 ahead of you. You can bet your a-- it's a golf cart. Usually they are in the left

Theresa Elliott

And let’s remember the City Marshall is also often the cause of backed up traffic when he stops in the right lane to issue citations. But hats a whole other issue.

Don Schlessinger

OOPS-Usually those golf carts are in the left hand lane. There are golf carts on Seawall that are unable to keep up with normal traffic. Golf carts should not eo on Seawall Blvd!

To David Collins, golf cart rental operators have invested real money in them because of a CITY COUNCIL that cares more for the bucks they bring in than the citizens of Galveston. Do your damn jobs, listen to and take care of the people who live here.

Kyle Gainer-Lewis

I live here and support golf carts on the Seawall and David Collins! There are two points of view. Tourist towns like Galveston are for people to visit and have fun. Use Ave O & P. Golf carts aren’t allow on those.

William McLain

It is my humble opinion that cars and trucks (with their higher speeds, and with their many very distracted drivers) pose far more danger to others on all of our Galveston streets than any golf cart ever could. To me, slowing down all of the traffic on all of our streets (including Seawall Boulevard) is a good thing. After all, don't we all like to operate on "island time" around here ?

Kyle Gainer-Lewis

EXACTLY!! I have NEVER a seen so many flipped cars in all my life. I am certain the majority of not ALL were doing well over 35 miles per hour...gets back to obey traffic laws!

John Merritt

Seems pretty simple to me, no golf carts allowed on the state highways That would include 3005, 61st, Seawall, Broadway, Harborside, Seawolf Parkway and Ferry Road. They are not, and were never, built to meet vehicle safety requirements. That's why they are called golf carts.

Bailey Jones

I recently saw a FB post for a company that plans to bring golf cart-ish vehicles to the island, made up to look like antique cars - like those things we drove at Six Flags as kids.

Seawall traffic is a mishmash of pedestrians, bikes, 4 wheeled bike carts, golf carts, motorcycles, strollers, wheelchairs, trolleys, and cars. It's also our main tourist attraction and economic engine. I abandon it to the tourists during warm months. But I look forward to enjoying it once again when the trolleys return - and I can leave the driving to someone else.

Don Schlessinger

Bailey I'm one that believes the city economic engine can run on all cylinders without golf carts on Seawall Blvd.

Bailey Jones

I don't disagree.

John Lengyel

[thumbup]

Brian Tamney

thatbrings up an excellent point, they should ban the trolleys and remove their tracks as they are a safety hazazard!!

Bill Sterchi

ABSOLUTELY!!!

Wayne D Holt

The City of Galveston has a schizophrenic approach to vehicle enforcement in general. We have marshals who are very diligent in ticketing parking violations, sidewalk parking, etc. At the same time, the City has allowed the proliferation of a Noah's Ark of alternative vehicles on public streets.

In addition to Bailey's list, you may see electrified scooters, electric skateboards, hoverboards, unicycles and I even saw one penitent dragging a wheeled cross down the street.

This goes to well-worn disagreements about the balance between resident interests and tourist interests, for the most part. We're a tourist town and have a very big stake in seeing that industry flourish, and that means solutions unique to this community. But the City appears to have a button marked ON/OFF when it comes to enforcement, seeming to hammer the low hanging fruit while pleading impracticality when it comes to more problematic enforcement issues.

Pro tip: 1) don't enact ordinances your police department can't effectively prosecute. That is, don't permit activities your police department tells you would be difficult to enforce against abuse; 2) after a suitable period of public education, use a zero tolerance police enforcement until the behavior matches the ordinance language.

I am confident a way can be found to let responsible business owners and local cart users enjoy their ride at the same time the idiots are hammered for endangering their safety and that of the public. But it requires the will to enforce the law as written, something City Hall seems to be loath to try if it could impact tourist dollars in the least.

Charlotte O'rourke

The reason residents keep moving out of Galveston is the failure to have a balance. Decisions are almost exclusively focused on the best interests of business and tourism.

That is a shame because compromise between business and tourism interests and resident interests is critical to a successful city and a growing population where people want to live.

Compromise .... it is a word that frequently is ignored to the detriment of all.

Wayne D Holt

[thumbup][thumbup]

Burney Wood

As a golf cart owner on the East End, we hang up our car keys and use our cart for our primary transportation.

On the seawall or any street if I find I’m in traffic that’s moving faster, or I’m holding up traffic I move over. Obviously, this year the number of rental carts and scooters of all types are way up.

So, what some things the city could do ASAP?

Enforce current rules, Limit rental permits, Stereo volume limits.

Designated golf cart parking areas on Beach where there is already a ramp to the beach, i.e., 19th and Seawall. Carts can use the light at 19th park on beach in a small roped off area. It would promote the Galveston vibe.

What needs to be quickly regulated is the use of electric scooters on the seawall and sidewalk’s. These electric scooters are moving at 10 plus mph and make very little noise. Most people walk 3-4 mph it is not safe!

Bill Broussard

Harking back to Don and Charlotte’s comments which of the problems noted could not have been anticipated? I suggest none.

Now we have mayor brown and mr Collins leaning over backward to care for our commercial interests while both of them were on council when the permits for this mess passed. I don’t think our long term problem is regulation as much as it is council stupidity

Btw: the Texas department of motor vehicles classifies golf carts the same way it classifies cars so DWI’s and speed should be a no brained as should mandatory seat belts which would go a long way to stop overloading

Don Schlessinger

In Galveston tourists rule and locals are expected to be quiet and pay taxes. We have a tone deaf city council. And yes Bill when we think about traffic signals in front of the San Louis stupidity is the first thing that comes to mind.

Wayne D Holt

[thumbup]

Bailey Jones

It occurs to me that we have more than one problem that may have a common solution. There's the problem with golf carts, etc., and there's the problem of these automatic crosswalks we have. Why not replace the crosswalks, and the traffic lights at the busiest intersections on Seawall, with traffic cops? They can keep the traffic flowing, get tourists back and forth across the street, and maintain some order with the golf carts. Make it a "Galveston thing".

Jeannette Guest

The "galveston" thing?

Those lights were payed for with taxes from homeowners for the use of pedestrians , benefiting the bussineses in that immediate area, aka Tillman fertitta , don't get it wrong!

Don Schlessinger

[thumbup]

Jeannette Guest

Can't we all just get along?

The golf cart and scooters add a lot to the Galveston experience ,and need to be included in the future of the tourist industry here.Enforce the current regulations by police presence on the Seawall and 61st.

Roy Hughes

Written by Lynne Springer

Golf carts are an accident waiting to happen. I have seen some that had lap belts. I believe there was a reason as to why cars switched to the shoulder strap. I believe the carts should be driven by someone that knows traffic laws - someone with a license. Kids for the most part do not follow the laws like a driver of a car. I think the carts need to be banned from all major streets: Broadway, Seawall, Harborside, 61st Street, FM3005, Avenue O, and Avenue P, and maybe, the Strand. If you own a cart and this is an inconvenience try walking instead. With a licensed driver, they should be allowed to cross over these streets at the appropriate time. Also, all children need to sit in the seat and be strapped in. I have seen some lap riders. Personally, I will not drive behind these vehicles. I think they are an accident waiting to happen. On weekends we have lots of people who have not figured out what a one-way street is and what direction they need to travel. In addition, there are certain parts of Avenue O where people run lights several times a day. I would hope that these carts would have insurance that would cover insured people. If you go out on weekends you should know how bad many of the tourists drive. If Galveston continues to have on the streets- signage would help and maybe some report via KTRK - GALVESTON Trying to make CARTS safer on the road and other new outlets.

Michael Basham

Well, Apparently there is a ship load of these coming thru the Panama Canal bound for a new shop on Broadway. Might want to let them know what is decided. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fo9vqhdr0UQ

Paul Sivon

Return the speed limit to 40. The cars/truck traffic speed is largely driven by the amount of congestion, not the speed limit.

Ted Gillis

Yeah, but don’t tell the captain until he’s cleared the canal Paul. We don’t want him to attempt a turn around too soon.

David Schuler

Nothing will happen until someone gets killed as a result of an accident or road rage.

Wayne D Holt

[thumbup] Isn't that how it usually works? We think we're an advanced civilization but we have human sacrifices just like the Aztecs. It takes something like that to get serious attention paid, when anyone can see that the answer isn't business as usual.

Thomas Carpenter

Banning the golf carts from state highways seems an excellent idea. Why don't the police ticket the golf carts like they do cars? Many of the riders in the carts don't buckle up.

bryan manuele

....and not to forget the loud music blasting off many of these vehicles as they now traverse neighborhood streets.

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