MILTON, Ga. — The Milton City Council used its March 9 work session to discuss golf cart use around the city and the possibility of creating its own policy for their use on public roads.
The city enforces the state’s regulations for cart usage on public roads, which allows residents to use a cart on city streets provided they meet the state’s stipulations (see box). But a major talking point at the work session was how to get carts across what City Manager Steve Krokoff called the “rivers” in downtown Crabapple — Crabapple Road and Birmingham Highway.
Because these are state roads, crossing either thoroughfare by golf cart is prohibited. The city could allow for connectivity across these roads, but it would need to get the go-ahead from GDOT, and the outlook is not necessarily positive.
According to Transportation Engineer Sara Leaders, GDOT said adding a traffic signal would be preferred for multi-use paths that would allow pedestrians, bikers and golf carts to cross the state roads. That goes against plans for a High-intensity Activated crossWalK, or HAWK, signal outlined under the downtown Crabapple Placemaking Plan the city adopted in 2017.
Earlier this month, Milton began taking a closer look at pedestrian improvements in the area and will use the placemaking plan as a foundation for future improvements.
Krokoff said creating crossings will be a major component of the pedestrian improvements, and that could include widening sidewalks to 10 feet to also allow for golf cart passage.
“If we want to make [cart usage] a part of the community, we might want to plan that in a little bit more,” Krokoff said.
The city could have another chance to allow for more cart usage in Crabapple, but it would be further down the road. Milton is set to adopt a 2021 comprehensive traffic plan next year, and Public Works Director Robert Drewry said carts could be a consideration in that blueprint.
Krokoff said ultimately the discussion at the work sessions related to Milton potentially creating its own golf cart policy. If Milton were to adopt its own set of regulations, it could add additional restrictions on top of the state’s policy.
Several council members shared that the city should investigate potential crossings in downtown Crabapple either with the Crabapple streetscape plan or the 2021 traffic blueprint.
Police Chief Rich Austin told the council that most golf carts already being used on public streets are compliant, but there have been instances of underage drivers or carts that did not have all the required safety features.
Carts can be used in gated communities if permitted by the neighborhood’s HOA. Austin said Milton Police do not enforce these stipulations, only cases of reckless driving, hit and run, DUI and vehicular homicide.
If the city adopts a golf cart use policy, an HOA could grant consent to be included in a planned area for carts.