Riverside looks at legalizing golf carts

Much like the City of Parkville did in recent years, the City of Riverside is looking into legalizing the use of golf carts on city streets.

At the Tuesday, July 3 board of aldermen meeting, the idea was broached by community development director Mike Duffy, who said he had been asked about the subject by residents. In 2009, Missouri allowed municipalities to establish local ordinance regulating golf carts within city limits. Parkville legalized golf carts in 2012.

Duffy said current city ordinance already included a framework for non-automobile vehicles such as all-terrain vehicles, so adding golf carts wouldn’t be much of a stretch.

“We’re kind of getting out ahead of something that we perceive will be more of an issue in the future as newer subdivisions come online and private golf cart ownership becomes more prevalent,” Duffy said.

Part of the framework for legalized golf carts would be that carts could only be driven by those who hold at least a learner’s permit or a driver’s license and the cart may not operate above its passenger capacity.

Carts could only operate on streets where the speed limit is 25 miles per hour or less and only during daylight hours unless the cart has headlights and taillights.

Also, Duffy said mayor Kathy Rose had suggested that drivers with handicapped tags be permitted to drive the golf carts on city trails.

“We don’t want just everybody doing it, but in the case of those with limited mobility we want to make those facilities open to those folks as well,” Duffy said.

City trails are wide enough to accommodate the carts, he said, and police could issue a permit to those drivers allowing them access to the trails.

Board members noted it would be a good opportunity for grandparents to take their grandchildren to the trails and be able to keep up with bikes.

Rose said the public would need to work on situational awareness on the trails, particularly if golf carts start using them.

“I’ve been on the trails plenty of times and just about got wiped out by a bicycle, so it’s important we educate people that if we allow these things (carts on trails) that they can’t just be oblivious when they’re out there,” Rose said.

Duffy said a social media, web and newsletter campaign would be launched as the city approaches legalization, to make residents more aware.

Also at the meeting, parks manager Noel Challis updated the board on the fitness court project currently under construction near the Riverside Community Center.

The free outdoor exercise area is expected to open this fall and is partially funded through a grant from Platte County Parks and Recreation. The city is also pursuing options to install a shade structure over the fitness court during the initial construction.

The board adopted the master plan for development at E.H. Young Riverfront park at its Tuesday, July 17 meeting. Phase one, which will begin in spring 2019, includes a dog park, a pedestrian plaza around the bell tower, pickleball courts, a re-aligned entry road to improve park connectivity and additional parking.

Phase two shows a destination playground and trail improvements.