It’s no exaggeration to say that Elkton resident Jamie Breeden is a golf cart enthusiast.
Breeden makes use of her four-wheeled vehicle nearly every day, whether she’s hauling her child to school in the morning, picking up groceries at the store, visiting a restaurant for dinner, or taking in the weather.
“We have lots of friends around here, so we use it to visit them, too,” Breeden added. “It works out really well for us and it’s very convenient.”
Since 2011 — the year in which the Elkton town council green-lighted use of the utility vehicles on roads where the posted speed limit is 25 miles per hour or less — Breeden’s been using her golf cart as a means of commute.
Late last year, Grottoes followed suit, allowing utility vehicles on its 25 mph roads throughout town.
The town of Dayton is looking to keep this fairways-to-roadways trend alive, contingent on a public discussion at the upcoming town hall meeting slated for Aug. 11.
Gauging Town Interest
The question of admitting these low speed vehicles on major roads in Dayton was raised when residents approached town officials about the possibility of driving their golf carts along Main and College streets, says Mayor Charles Long, also citing Elkton and Grottoes as a reference point.
When the number of requests increased, town officials decided to make a move.
An online survey open from March-May on the town’s website was used to gauge residents’ collective opinion. Of the 19 residents who took the survey, 16 supported the idea.
The results triggered a string of steps from the town: build a proposal, seek approval from VDOT and vote. The final proposal will be presented to the public at August’s meeting.
A rough draft of the plan was discussed during the July 14 meeting at Dayton Municipal Building. The hour-long meeting served as a platform for town council members to explain the loose parameters of the plan, which includes establishing a nearby inspection station.
“This will be a drawing card for unique transportation,” said Long. “We hope this will bring more residents to our downtown. It will also give people the opportunity to commute within the 25 mph speed limits, which is what the majority of the town encompasses, and that would be with further police officers patrolling.”
A couple residents at July’s meeting, however, raised objections.
“I live on College Street and I don’t think it’s a good idea for College or Main,” remarked Tara Rexrode, owner of The Rustic Oracle Boutique on College Street. “Anywhere else would be OK, but those two streets are way too busy.”
John Jacobsen agreed.
“I would like for council to get a lawn chair and sit on my lawn and watch the machinery that come flying down the street,” said Jacobsen, who also lives on College Street. “Those rigs fly. They don’t go 20-25 mph. I’m thinking that you’re setting yourself up for a really dangerous situation.”
Council member Kheris A. Snead compared the concerns to the hazards of riding a bicycle on those streets.
“It’s just as dangerous,” she remarked. “We’ve got tractors driving through and they’re dangerous to me and my vehicle because they’re not stopping at stop signs. I just think that as long as the person that is on the apparatus is being safe and doing what they’re supposed to do, we’re not in any more danger than the little guy riding his bicycle down College Street.”
No accidents involving golf carts or utility vehicles have been reported in Elkton or Grottoes, according to each town’s respective police department.
Ultimately, Dayton town council hopes to make its final decision Aug. 11; however, overwhelming objection could delay the vote several months.
If passed, members of council feel it could make Dayton more recognizable.
“I really feel this is something that is going to make Dayton even more unique,” noted council member Shelley P. Newman.
“We’re trying to stand out; we’re trying to be a place where people want to live. I feel this would make us stand out.”
Town Hall meetings are held at 7 p.m. second Mondays.
For more information, call the town of Dayton at 879-2241.
Contact Matt Gonzales at (540) 574-6265 or firstname.lastname@example.org