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Proposed Amendment to GSCDD – Golf Carts operated on Pelican Preserve roads

Proposed Amendment to the Gateway Services Community Development District Board of Supervisors (the “Board”) of the Regulation Concerning Where Golf Carts Should Be Operated on the Main Roads in Pelican Preserve

 Background

At its April 19, 2018 meeting the Pelican Preserve Advisory Committee (the “PPAC”) proposed to the Board a series of revisions to the golf cart regulations in Pelican Preserve. While the Board approved most of the revisions proposed by the PPAC, it did not accept the revision recommended by the PPAC concerning where golf carts should be operated on Pelican Preserve Boulevard and Cypress Grove Drive and passed its own revised regulation in Resolution No. 2018 – 04, Section 1E2. Specifically, it did not accept the PPAC’s unanimous recommendation that golf carts should be required to operate in the right hand vehicle lane with the four (4) foot outside travel lane/shoulder (the “shoulder lane”) reserved for the exclusive use of bicycles and instead directed that golf carts should be operated in the shoulder lane along with bicycles.

Rationale for How Golf Carts Should Be Operated on the Main Roads

The Safety & Security Work Group (the “SSWG) and the PPAC believe that the practice of having golf carts, which are classified as motor vehicles, try to share the shoulder lane with bicycles is unsafe. First, because golf carts are too wide to stay completely within the shoulder lane, they often travel partially in the right hand vehicle lane where they may not be readily visible to automobiles and trucks. Second, if two cars are occupying the regular vehicle lanes beside each other and they come abreast of a moving golf cart that is trying to travel in the shoulder lane, but is protruding into the right hand lane, this creates a very dangerous situation. Third, a golf cart traveling in the shoulder lane and overtaking a bicycle must provide the legally required three feet of safe passing distance, potentially necessitating it to swerve into the right hand vehicle lane. Fourth, a golf cart in the shoulder lane making a left hand turn must cross over six lanes of traffic.

While it is true that a car or truck traveling on these main roads can move faster than a golf cart, the visibility on these roads is good and provides adequate time for a car or truck overtaking a golf cart to pass it safely in the left hand vehicle lane. It should also be noted that a golf cart may only driven on Pelican Preserve roads at night if it is equipped with functioning headlights, tail lights, turn signals and a windshield.

New Developments

Since the PPAC presented its proposal concerning where golf carts should be operated on the main roads there have been new developments relevant to the Board’s consideration of this issue:

It has been determined that the shoulder lanes as currently marked on Cypress Grove Drive, one of the roads covered by the regulation, are only three feet eight and one-half inches (3′ 8 1/2″) wide. This means it is virtually impossible to keep a four foot wide golf cart within the confines of this lane. Further, removing the current lane and re­painting it would result in considerable, unnecessary expense.

A very substantial majority of the members of Pelican Preserve Presidents’ Council (the “Presidents’ Council”), representing all the neighborhoods in the community, believes that the Board’s decision concerning this matter was not in the best interests of the community’s residents. The Presidents’ Council decided to send a letter to the Board expressing its opinion on this issue (see attached Exhibit “A”).

At the request of the Presidents’ Council, the Pelican Preserve Residents Alliance and the SSWG conducted a survey of all Pelican Preserve residents to determine their opinion concerning where golf carts should travel on the main roads. A majority of the 1113 residents responding to the survey agreed that golf carts should be “required” to travel in the right hand vehicle lane with the shoulder lane reserved exclusively for the use of bicycles. Minorities supported the current regulation passed by the Board that golf carts “should” travel in the shoulder lane or another alternative that they should be “required” to travel in the shoulder lane. (see attached Exhibit “B”)

 

Request to Amend Resolution No. 2018 – 04

Based on District Counsel’s opinion that “The Board has the ability to adopt a revised resolution repealing or replacing the current Resolution with a new resolution that still designates certain District roads for golf cart usage with revised guidelines and rules”, the PPAC requests that the Board amend Resolution No. 2018 -04, Section 1E2 concerning where golf carts should be operated on the main roads in Pelican Preserve and replace it with the regulation recommended by the PPAC that golf carts be required to travel in the right hand vehicle lane and that the shoulder lane should be reserved for the exclusive use of bicycles. This recommendation is consistent with the following:

The rationale for how golf carts should be operated on the main roads shown above.

The conclusions of the 2009 traffic study conducted by David Plummer and Associates and the 2017 traffic study conducted by Johnson Engineering, Inc.

The Pelican Preserve Development of Regional Impact’s requirement that “The Developer provide for efficient pedestrian and bicycle movement within Pelican Preserve through the provision of a system of interconnecting sidewalks and bike paths that link various pods of the development”.

The recommendation of the Presidents’ Council.

The majority opinion of the Pelican Preserve residents responding to the survey cited above.

 

Summary, Recommendation & Request

As noted in the earlier submission concerning this regulation, the PPAC and SSWG recognize that there is no “right answer” from a safety perspective for the routing of golf carts and bicycles, but in their unanimous judgment their recommendation, supported by a majority of Pelican Preserve residents, strongly represents the best available balance between golf cart and bicycle safety and other traffic needs.

Therefore, the PPAC requests that the Board amend the prior Resolution No. 2018 – 04, Section 1E2, subject to and contingent upon modification by the City of Fort Myers of the Pelican Preserve Development Order as summarized in the letter dated February 6, 2001 from Mr. Norman J. Trebilcock of RWA Incorporated to Mr. Saeed Kazemi, by rewriting it to read “Golf carts are required to be operated and driven in the right hand vehicle lane on all four lane roads within Pelican Preserve. Except as required in E.5 be­low herein, golf carts may not be driven on sidewalks. Carts may be operated on the golf cart paths in the Preserve. The undesignated four (4) foot outside travel lane/shoulder on all four lane roads shall be reserved for the exclusive use of bicycles.” Further, the Board is requested to direct District staff to process the necessary modifications to the Development Order to permit the requested changes to the Resolution.

As noted above, the recommendation concerning this requested amendment is supported unanimously by the PPAC and SSWG and by majorities of both the Presidents’ Council and the residents of the Pelican Preserve community.