Proposed Golf Cart Ordinance Intended to Be Lagniappe for Poplarville Residents – Picayune Item

After three years of trying, the city of Poplarville may finally allow golf carts on residential streets.

Poplarville Mayor Rossie Creel wants to see a proposed golf cart ordinance in effect by the time the Blueberry Jubilee takes place this summer. The Poplarville Board of Aldermen is still weighing the merits of a golf cart ordinance. The two board members at a Tuesday workshop on the proposed ordinance seem on board to move it forward.

The legislature this year passed a new law that made it easier for the city to enact a golf cart ordinance. Previously, council had to pass a unanimous resolution on which a private legislation committee would then vote. Poplarville has passed the resolution twice in the past three years, but it did not pass the committee, Creel said.

With the new state law, the city only needs a majority vote from the Board of Aldermen to pass a golf cart ordinance.

The proposed ordinance would allow the use of golf carts on city streets with speed limits of 25 mph or less. Golf cart owners should register their vehicles for use on city streets. Carts would need to have insurance, windshields, mirrors and brake lights, just like a regular car. Golf cart drivers who violate the ordinance or disobey traffic laws would still be subject to tickets.

Other low-speed vehicles that followed the same guidelines would also be permitted under the order. Creel said the city has a problem with four-wheeled vehicles traveling at high speeds in the city, and these would not be considered low-speed vehicles under the ordinance.

One of the biggest safety concerns discussed Tuesday was where golf carts should be allowed to cross city highways. The ordinance originally proposed four crossings: Highway 11 and Larkin Smith, Highway 26 and South Allen, Highway 53 and Longleaf Lane/Pecan, and Highway 53 and W. Dove Street/Maple Street. However, Alderman Shirley Wiltshire submitted comments as she could not attend the meeting over concerns that some of the crossings were high speed areas or did not have a four way stop sign .

Alderman Russell Miller agreed with Wiltshire’s written comments that Highway 53 and Longleaf would be a high-speed zone for golf carts and Chief Constable Danny Collier pointed out there was a bluff there that limited visibility. Creel said he would remove him from the list in the proposed order.

Wiltshire also wrote that she was concerned about Highway 26 and Allen Street as a crossing because it is a high-traffic area where people often speed. The speed limit is 35 mph at this location.

Board members present at the meeting disagreed and thought it would be safe with lighted signage. Creel said he originally added the intersection to allow golf cart access to the park.

Wiltshire was also concerned about the proposed level crossing at Larkin Smith and Route 11 due to its lack of a four-lane stop. Workshop attendees discussed using West North Street and Highway 11 instead, as it is a four-lane stop and is well-lit.

Workshop participants also discussed the city’s placement of fluorescent golf cart crossing signs at approved crossings. Brown suggested flashing signs, similar to school zone signs, but Creel noted that these could be prohibitively expensive. Collier suggested starting with bright fluorescent panels, then possibly adding flashing lights later.

Participants also discussed limiting hours of golf cart use to avoid heavy traffic during the day in the middle of the week.

Wiltshire suggested raising the one-time registration fee above $50, but workshop attendees agreed it should be $50 to make it more affordable, as the prescription is supposed to be a lagniappe for citizens rather than a revenue generator.

Council will discuss the order again at its next regular meeting on Tuesday. To be in force before Jubilee, it would need to be passed in early May, Creel said.