Whatcom County Council plans to overhaul golf cart area

By Grace McCarthy

A request from members of the Birch Bay community to revise the boundaries of the Birch Bay Golf Cart Zone has made its way to Whatcom County Council.

At their June 15 meeting, members of Whatcom County Council voted unanimously 7 to 0 on a motion to remove the golf cart zone on a portion of Bay Road near the Bay Crest neighborhood, from Jackson Road to Halibut Drive. The amended ordinance will come back to council at a future meeting for a final vote.

Council members also asked Whatcom County Public Works to conduct a traffic assessment study extending the golf cart zone on Alderson Road from Parkland Drive to Gemini Street, and possibly tying in the Whisper subdivision. Lake at a golf cart area. Once the traffic study is complete, the council will review it to see if the ordinance needs to be changed again.

Bay Crest resident Tim Lambert first noticed the potential safety hazards of golf carts on Bay Road, which has three entrances into Bay Crest, two years ago when a dinner guest said he was shocked by the speed limit change from 35 to 25 mph that happens in the golf cart. areas.

“It’s dangerous because kids drive golf carts and Bay Road is a main road to Birch Bay State Park,” Lambert said. “I’m glad they approved it. It took a lot of time and work. »

Birch Bay Chamber of Commerce Secretary Doralee Booth helped Lambert bring the Bay Road issue to the public works department.

Golf cart drivers generally don’t use Bay Road, and those in cars or larger vehicles don’t recognize the lower speed limit, Booth said. Bay Crest golf cart drivers can still access Birch Bay via Jackson Road and behind The C Shop, which Booth says are safer options than Bay Road.

“Nobody really pays attention to that gear change and the golf carts don’t go out on Bay Road because they can get to Birch Bay two other ways,” Booth said at the public works committee meeting and Whatcom County Council Health on June 15.

Booth asked if the golf cart area that ends on Parkland Drive could be extended to Bay Horizon Park on Gemini Street, so people can drive their golf carts to the Blaine-Birch Bay Park and Recreation District activity center. 2. She also asked if Public Works could possibly assess the creation of a golf cart area on the service road connecting the new Whisper Lake housing development to Alderson Road.

The Birch Bay Chamber of Commerce first brought the idea of ​​a golf cart zone, which reduced the speed limit from 35 to 25 mph on certain streets, to the council’s attention in 2018. The council established a temporary zone in May 2018 which was reinstated indefinitely when it expired in October 2019.

As of 2010, Washington state law allows cities and counties to have golf cart zones.