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Golf Cart Law Veers to Traffic Authority

The town's traffic authority will have to decide if golf carts have a place on Stratford roads.

Updated 1 p.m. Tuesday

It will be up to the town's traffic authority whether or not golf carts will be allowed to travel on town roads with posted speed limits not exceeding 25 mph.

The Stratford Town Council initially referred the proposal to the town's ordinance committee. However, at that body's meeting Monday it was announced the proposed legislation needs to be reviewed and ruled on by the town's traffic authority.

"According to state statue ... only the traffic authority of the town has the right to allow or not allow golf carts," said Councilman Craig Budnick (R-7).

The town website lists the following members of the traffic authority:

  • Tom Moore, mayor's representative
  • Maurice McCarthy, director of public works
  • Gary Catalano, public works supervisor
  • John Casey, town engineer
  • Lt. Patrick Freer, Stratford Police Department
  • Lt. Celeste Robitaille, SPD
  • Capt. Michael Fernandes, SPD

And the purpose of the traffic authority, according to the website:

The Traffic Authority shall have the authority to provide for the regulation and use of streets and highways, including but not limited to the regulation of parking, speed and traffic, in accordance with the Connecticut General Statutes.

A motion to strike the golf cart proposal from the agenda passed unanimously. The proposed legislation is now in the hands of the traffic authority.

***

Original Article: Golf Cart Law on the Drawing Board Again [Poll]

Do you think allowing golf carts to travel on Stratford roads would benefit residents?

Published Jan. 11

Almost a year after it was stricken from a town committee's agenda, town officials are revisiting the idea of allowing golf carts on public roads.

"I've been contacted by numerous people in my district to bring it up," Councilman Chris Barnaby (R-1) told Stratford Patch Tuesday. Barnaby said he and his first district constituents have amassed a list of about 18 talking points in favor of permitting golf carts on town roads.

The proposed legislation was , when then-committee member Thomas Malloy said it would only affect a "precious few people" who own golf carts.

The discussion is made possible via that provides towns the option to pass regulations allowing the use of golf carts on town roads, with a few restrictions, including:

  • Operation during daylight hours only
  • Golf carts need to be equipped with a horn
  • Golf carts need to be equipped with a flag visible to motorists
  • No operation on streets with posted speed limits above 25 mph
  • The operator must have a valid driver’s license

The proposed ordinance resurfaced Monday in the form of a Town Council agenda item sponsored by Barnaby. [The item, 8.1 ORDINANCE re: Golf Cart Travel on Public Roads (#12-01), can be read in full by clicking on the attached PDF in the photo gallery.] Before the Council meeting commenced, a group of Lordship residents spoke in support of the proposal.

Jefferson Street resident Chuck Vernazza said it would "add another dimension to the Lordship community." He said locals can use their golf carts to go to church, the beach or a nearby grocery store. Vernazza added golf carts are environmentally clean and do not go faster than 15 to 20 mph.

"I believe it would definitely help our community," Birch Street resident Jeff Trombly said. "I do a lot of walking. I don't see the point of jumping in the car and driving two blocks."

Trombly said allowing golf carts on town roads would also help senior citizens get around more safely. 

Kathy Allagno, also of Jefferson Street, suggested that the ordinance include a route from the seawall to Short Beach to Long Beach. She said it would lessen the noise from cars along the seawall.

Good for the Whole Town?

"As I had seen it presented I didn't know you were limiting it to Lordship," said Sonja Devitt of Hilltop Drive. She argued that narrow streets in Stratford such as Whippoorwill Lane would be dangerous for golf carts to travel on. "I see a tragedy waiting to happen," she told the Council.

Barnaby said the ordinance could potentially only be applied to one community. He said the proposal is modeled after one that Old Saybrook has already adopted.

"I do agree it needs some work," he said. "I'm a huge proponent of safety."

Councilwoman Stephanie Philips (D-2) echoed Barnaby's safety concerns, saying "it needs a lot of careful thought." However, she said the ordinance needs to be applicable to the whole town, not just one community such as Lordship. Philips was recently replaced as the chairperson of the ordinance committee by fellow Council member Jim Connor (R-8).

Liability, Enforcement

Under the proposed law, the town would not be liable for any potential damages if a golf cart were to be involved in a crash with another vehicle or pedestrian, Barnaby said. He said insurance on the registered golf cart would cover the town's liability.

Another issue that remains to be addressed fully is how the law will be enforced by Stratford police, Philips said.

In the end, Council members voted that the proposal go back to the ordinance committee for further examination. It was recommended that the police department weigh in on the roads that would be applicable under the ordinance.

The ordinance committee meets on the last Monday of the month.

Editor's note: The original publication date of this article, Jan. 11, has been changed for layout purposes.

Stephanie Philips January 11, 2012 at 07:35 PM
Only for the sake of accuracy, Lordship "does not" pay a special property tax assessment, to help maintain the roads, beaches, and community that the rest of Stratford enjoys. The same tax code is applied to every resident.
Brad Madigan January 11, 2012 at 07:59 PM
who cares? Lets worry bout short beach dissa pearing! Let the 3 or 4 people that live near the seawall ride thier carts. how bout a food stand at long beach? How bout fixing bonds dock? How bout putting picknic tables back ay Shakespear? Howbout finally opening the new animal shelter ? howbout thinking bout the people who cant go on vacation, who cant afford golf clubs, or day camps , or sports programs ??? Howbout something free in town for the kids? free soccer leagues,, free swim calasses at flood , free hoop for children, ? does everything have to cost ? How bout vo lenteers planting flowers in the center of town instead of town workers? They dont have better things to do? Like fixin bonds dock? like fixin roads? give me a break! How bout the Mayor driving roud town to different public works projects, see whats really going on.? % guys to load a bag of leaves?? Wake up people. Your money is being wasted!! I FEEL BETTER
Catmommie January 11, 2012 at 08:32 PM
Hey, those town workers keep the donut places in business during a snowstorm...
George E. Mulligan January 11, 2012 at 08:40 PM
Golf carts on Public areas are fatality waiting to happen. Lawsuits to follow. Private property = who cares = do what you want! Address real issues like PENSIONS & HEALTH CARE building 2010 Budget of $ 185 million to be $ 51.7 million in BENEFITS = > TOWN / BoE. > OT = PENSIONS > HIGH TAXES & rates > Certain influencial sewer forgiveness vs. foreclosures > attack on Business > attacks on Residents > Over Bonding > Political Priorities > ATTORNEY BUDGETS / SETTLEMENT > ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT > UNFUNDED MANDATES > STEERED & KITED PAY & BENEFITS > CONTRACT BID / AWARD / CHANGE ORDER PROCESS & circumvention. > BUDGET SLUSH FUNDS / HIDDEN MONEYS > more Step - you & connors email kicked back - was there a change?
Mike January 12, 2012 at 02:59 PM
State law exempts mopeds because their engine size is smaller than the state standard for motor vehicle engines. It is nothing new for Stratford to pass legislation that is contrary to State and Federal law.
Mike January 12, 2012 at 03:05 PM
I have seen the police stop golf carts and ticket their drivers.
Dom DeCicco January 12, 2012 at 03:49 PM
What a joke. You all know there's a game being played right. Mike made some great points about State laws. While we debate this thogh, I just want to add the damage count: just from the people I know, this week will we be down another family that is being forced to move. Great people, smart kids, there only crime -- not making enough money. My family will miss them. This makes three in total in my neighborhood and that makes me sad.
Dom DeCicco January 12, 2012 at 03:51 PM
sorry about the errors people -- cold medicine me thinks. My nose is all stuffy.
Dom DeCicco January 12, 2012 at 04:42 PM
To begin with: golf carts lack the safety of a car. A golf cart vs. a car would not end well. Once again, we would be creating another situation where our emergency workers would have to deal with another bright idea.
Jason Bagley (Editor) January 12, 2012 at 04:45 PM
Another comment from the Stratford Patch Facebook page: Vincent Caizzi: "In addition if you can drive golf carts on streets then I think it should be made that you can drive ATV's on the streets as well especially when we get lots of snow." http://www.facebook.com/StratfordPatch
Bev Barnish January 12, 2012 at 05:21 PM
Chris Barnaby you have to be kidding with this proposal. Golf carts do not belong on street and the liability to the two if this were ever passed is huge. Ask any attorney with personal injury experience and they will tell you the town will be sued if injuries result in having the carts on the streets. Instead of worrying about a few existing people who have carts who want to make them legal how about working on the big picture. The #1 issue with taxpayers in your district is high taxes. Owners of small capes to the big houses on Park Blvd. and Ocean Ave. are all complaining about the ridiculously high taxes they are paying and you’re fooling around with this BS. Come get a grip on the real issues. My guess you also have done your friends with golf carts a disservice bringing this proposal forward. When it fails to pass the Police will now be obligated to enforce the laws they have been ignoring and force the carts off the roadways.
Elizabeth Howard January 12, 2012 at 05:31 PM
This is classic Stratford, however: waste a LOT of time and energy on something that is only useful to five people.
George E. Mulligan January 12, 2012 at 07:11 PM
Elizabeth = very, very observant & accurate. Jim Miron called it "smoke n mirrors." - Pension, Health Care & other benefits were $ 51.7 Million of 2010 BUDGET of $ 185 million. - If you were a conman, liar, thief, or pick pocket, would you want your target to be on guard? - If you are getting overpaid or kickbacks from Public Treasury, would you like to have people concentrating on real issues or PRETEXT! - My turn to return the complement!!
RMK January 12, 2012 at 09:25 PM
Agreed.
Barbara Northup January 14, 2012 at 01:59 PM
Could the Town of Stratford please address the IMPORTANT issues in this town! Golf Carts on the public streets......PLEASE! How about providing more housing for Senior Citizens that have lived in this town all their lives and exist on Social Security! How about cutting the taxes so we will not be forced to have another vacant house on the street that is impossible to sell! How about not offending the people of Lordship by thinking we are all rich. In 1970 when I bought my house, I paid $31,500 and did not WANT to live here! It is inconvenient, I use more gas to get around, the people that live here are not all rich, play golf or think they are better than everyone else! Why is it that those that are struggling have no voice!
George E. Mulligan January 16, 2012 at 09:44 AM
i agree with Barbara Northup > guest story from CT POST MariAn Gail Brown: Keep golf carts off the roads Updated 11:26 p.m., Tuesday, January 10, 2012 Sure, golf carts look cute and toylike. The place for them is on a golf course. They don't belong on local roadways -- even if the posted speed limit is 25 mph, because practically every other motorist greatly exceeds that. The rest of us shouldn't have to shout "Fore" out our car windows when encountering them one lane over from us.
George E. Mulligan January 16, 2012 at 09:51 AM
And yes, there are plenty of states where residents cruise around condo complexes in golf carts. But this doesn't make them safe -- not for their occupants and certainly not for the rest of us who may share the road with them. Regardless of how well-meaning proponents of Stratford's proposed golf cart ordinance are, the legislation deserves to be stopped in its tracks. It's an invitation for a fatal fandango with a motorist. Don't waste our time. And please, don't make driving in Stratford more dangerous. Are the insurance companies and personal injury lawyers of Connecticut behind this one? I believe they are salivating over money-making possibilities. Around the country, golf cart injuries are rising. study Journal of Preventive Medicine -- from 1990 to 2006 injuries from being struck by/falling from golf cart > jumped 132 percent. National Electronic Injury Surveillance System OVER 48,255 people suffered golf cart injuries between 2002 & 2005 that required hospital treatment. Victims damages to hips, shoulder plus contusions, concussions, subdural hematomas & hemorrhages. Reason clear. More find off-golf course uses for carts corporate complexes, condominiums & communities where folks want an environmentally friendly way to ferry children/belongings Reducing carbon footprint, Get a bike -- or tandem bicycle. Read more: http://www.ctpost.com/news/article/MariAn-Gail-Brown-Keep-golf-carts-off-the-roads-2456789.php#ixzz1jc4MuCKF
Dom DeCicco January 16, 2012 at 07:40 PM
I have changed my stance on this – have changed my beliefs' systems. I now feel that golf carts on the roads would be a cultural leap forward for Strad-phonians; a five-year plan of its time. I envision marketing schemes – logos ablaze that advertise various pizza places and dental clinics that promise whitened teeth. It would be a renaissance of sorts for the town. Just think of the who’s-who of Stratford society hob-knobbing in parking lots, as they pass pleasantries back and forth between “stogies.” They could think of sinister plans such as how to get fireworks for the “big” 4th bash and how to rig local athletics so their son or daughter can become the next scholarship recipient. Oh, such big dreams for a shrinking town…
Dom DeCicco January 16, 2012 at 07:42 PM
But George – how else is someone going to announce boastfully to their neighbors that they have “ARRIVED”?
Tom January 16, 2012 at 07:48 PM
How about we do this: let the golf carts drive on the road and then build the dog park on theputting green!
Barbara Northup January 24, 2012 at 11:59 AM
I am tired of hearing about golf carts! As a property owner in Lordship, I wonder if the people who are in favor of golf carts have a clue that no one drives under 25 mph on any road in Lordship! Have they checked the laws with DMV? Do they have jobs, families or do have they just bought into the hype that because you live in Lordship your S--- don't stink! How about looking around and seeing all the forclosed homes in Lordship, the number of houses that are for sale or vacant, and been on the market for over a year.......... How about realizing that GOLF CARTS are NOT IMPORTANT, and should not be on the roads anywhere..................
Jezebel282 January 24, 2012 at 08:50 PM
"It will be up to the town's traffic authority whether or not golf carts will be allowed to travel on town roads with posted speed limits not exceeding 25 mph." Maurice McCarthy, director of public works Gary Catalano, public works supervisor John Casey, town engineer Lt. Patrick Freer, Stratford Police Department Lt. Celeste Robitaille, SPD Capt. Michael Fernandes, SPD Excellent! Now we get to waste the time of highly paid professionals. Who the hell owns this golf cart anyway? We should send him the bill for this.
Herb Morrison January 25, 2012 at 02:55 AM
Golf carting accident: http://abclocal.go.com/kfsn/story?section=news/local&id=8444706
Herb Morrison January 25, 2012 at 02:56 AM
I guess we might as well start talking about allowing rickshaws on the roads as well then. There environmentally friendly and the unemployment numbers would definitely produce enough runners for the INDUSTRY that would be created. An American invented the rickshaw so the technocrats and sycophants could sell it as being symbolic of our nation’s recovery back toward automation – you know: going backwards in order to make progress, turning the low-intensity light off so it looks brighter when you turn it on, and stupefying the successful students in order to avoid leaving any others behind.
Herb Morrison January 25, 2012 at 02:58 AM
Man killed on road after golf cart was rear-ended by Jeep. http://www.wsoctv.com/news/news/driver-of-golf-cart-killed-in-crash/nGSDp/
Herb Morrison January 25, 2012 at 03:04 AM
Just dangerous to the driver of the cart, the operators of other vehicles, and the community at large: http://www.ketknbc.com/news/man-killed-in-morning-golf-cart-wreck
Herb Morrison January 25, 2012 at 03:20 AM
It’s endless. With the dangers known regarding golf carts and roadways, I was think that there may even be liability to a municipality allowing it. http://www.wpxi.com/news/29222014/detail.html http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/local/breakingnews/os-golf-cart-elderly-woman-killed-20120109,0,3544459.story http://blog.al.com/breaking/2009/11/71-year-old_athens_man_killed.html Mule drawn cart related accident: strange but true, I guess. http://www.thetimesnews.com/articles/mules-49513-cart-fayetteville.html http://www.pe.com/local-news/riverside-county/lake-elsinore/lake-elsinore-headlines-index/20100902-man-killed-in-canyon-lake-golf-cart-crash.ece
Mike January 25, 2012 at 01:19 PM
Let's see what the Comissioner of Motor Vehicles says about this. I think I'll call him this morning.
Craig Budnick January 25, 2012 at 04:01 PM
Mike, I wanted to thank you for your original comment back on January 11th. That is what sparked my interest in who has the authority to regulate golf carts in the state and towns. As I discovered CGS CHAPTER 249 TRAFFIC CONTROL AND HIGHWAY SAFETY Sec. 14-300g. Operation of golf carts. Equipment. Insurance, specifically grants the "traffic authority" which is clearly defined in Stratford as Per §5-80 of Town Code to regulate golf carts on the road. To everyone's concern about being a waste of time and money.....this is how a democracy works. The citizens bring requests to their government and we are obligated to discuss as frivolous as they may seem at times. Though what is frivolous to one may be very important to another so we try to accommodate as many constituent requests as possible. I am looking forward to addressing Stratford's serious economic woes. Instead of people getting upset about golf carts, wildlife feeding and Council meeting start times....we as a town should be outraged that the Federal Government continues to hold the Avco property hostage and not pay for the cleanup so it can be sold to a developer for a fair price. Perhaps if all 51,000 residents could come together for one cause, this would be a great one. Lower taxes and the future economic development of the town lies in that property. I welcome the feedback of all town residents. Craig Budnick Councilman 7th District Town of Stratford
Sarah May 29, 2012 at 10:57 PM
The traffic authority is holding a meeting about the golf cart ordinance at 2:30 on Wednesday, June 20 regarding the use of them in Lordship and Oronoque communities (as both meet the CT guidelines). Many towns and communities across the country use the eco-friendly carts (and space saving) to get around small communities like those mentioned above. I'll be there in support!

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