Committee recap, part two: Golf carts on Jax streets

By Gary Scott on August 26, 2015 at 1:29pm

A Jacksonville alderman wants to make it legal to drive golf carts and utility vehicles on city streets.

Travis Richardson, who is in his first term in Ward 3, brought the idea up during Tuesday morning’s Planning and Public Works Committee meeting.

According to the initial proposal, you would need to have a driver’s license, carry mandatory liability insurance, and must be 18 years old. Richardson also suggested not letting any passengers younger than eight years of age. There would be a 75-dollar permit fee.

“I was approached actually by some constituents in my ward, along with a few other wards in the city. I assumed it would just be smaller cities doing this, however, after doing some research, large cities are doing this and they’re benefiting from these carts, not only from sales tax perspective, but just from the community needs, which are quite a multitude of things,” he says.

“There’s at least one individual who contacted me in Jacksonville; he has a disability, it’s hard for him to just jump into his car, run to the store. There’s low maintenance costs, there would be a huge fuels savings, easy parking. There’s no gas, so obviously there would be a big savings there,” continues Richardson.

In addition, Richardson proposed the vehicles not be able to go more than 35 miles per hour or operate on Morton Avenue, Main Street or Walnut Street, but that they could cross intersections.

“Right now, there’s already carts on the streets in the city around Illinois College and MacMurray College, around some of the state facilities, I see them all the time on the streets already, so really we’d be bringing some of these guys into compliance as well make sure the streets are safe and for the betterment of the community,” Richardson says.

Aldermen made the decision to table the proposal so more work could be done on a draft ordinance, and so input can be gathered from Jacksonville’s police chief. Committee chairman Bill Scott indicated he’s gotten calls from constituents who support the idea.

We called several municipalities in our listening area this morning to find out where you can use golf carts on the street currently.

Elsewhere in Morgan County, we were told the vehicles are allowed in Waverly and Murrayville. In Cass County, Beardstown and Virginia do not allow usage, but Ashland does. In Scott County, Winchester allows the vehicles on the streets. All of the major cities in Greene County allow golf cart usage.