Jeff Jones, who spends his days painting Jeeps at the Toledo Assembly Complex, has been eagerly waiting to launch a business that will have taxi golf carts crisscrossing the streets of downtown.
“I work a full-time job at Jeep, and I don’t plan to stop that, but this company will be my contribution to get people downtown, keep them downtown, and help them because maybe they don’t know how to navigate downtown,” said Mr. Jones, who lives downtown.
The business idea has been on hold for months, Mr. Jones said, while he waits for Toledo City Council to approve a pilot program allowing the use of golf carts and low-speed vehicles on public streets within designated areas of Point Place, the Old West End, the Warehouse District, and downtown.
“I am hoping this relieves some of the stress people have with parking; they won’t have to fight to park on the street or in the garages and, instead, they can call us for a ride,” Mr. Jones said.
Councilman Lindsay Webb pitched the idea in December when she asked for a pilot program to run from April 1 to Dec. 31, 2017, in Point Place and the Old West End. Her proposed ordinance has since been stuck in committee.
Golf carts and low-speed vehicles would be allowed on public streets within designated areas of Point Place, the Old West End, the Warehouse District, and downtown under a proposal being considered by Toledo City Council.
■ Owners or operators of any golf cart or low-speed vehicle to pay a $25 registration fee and carry proof of insurance
■ The vehicle can only be operated on streets with a 35 mph speed limit or less
■ The driver must be at least 16 years old and have a valid driver’s license
■ The vehicle must have turn signals, two headlights, a horn, at least one working brake light, tail lights, a rear view mirror, a windshield, one seat belt per occupant, child safety seats and booster seats for children in need of those, and an illuminated license plate.
Source: City of Toledo
Since then, the idea has been expanded to also include downtown, the Warehouse District, and a stretch that runs from the Old West End to the Toledo Museum of Art.
The most recent proposal, which will be discussed by council’s committee of the whole today, would authorize a pilot program to run from April 1 to Dec. 31, 2018. Data collected during the pilot program would be used to determine if it could be expanded to more neighborhoods, the legislation states.
Owners or operators of any golf cart would have to pay $25 before it could be used on city streets. It could only be used on streets with a 35 mph speed limit or less, and driven by someone at least 16-years-old who has a valid driver’s license.
“Part of what drives interest in a neighborhood is unique features,” said Ms. Webb, who represents Point Place. “People are excited living in Point Place because [of] access to the yacht club or the water, and jumping in your golf cart to go check on your boat or to the yacht clubs is a unique feature.”
Point Place resident Chris Sabin bought a gas-powered “side-by-side utility vehicle,” last year and routinely uses it to get around the neighborhood. He knows it’s not legal.
“There are days when it is nice. We drive around and see everyone and sometimes we take it out to one of the local restaurants,” he said. “In the Point, everyone drives their ATVs or four-wheelers and as long as we are respectful, there are no problems.”
His vehicle is equipped with turn signals, two headlights, and a horn — all of which would be required under the proposed law council is considering.
There also would have to be at least one working brake light, taillights, a rear view mirror, a windshield, one seat belt per occupant, child safety seats, and booster seats for children in need of those; proof of insurance, and an illuminated license plate.
Golf carts are used in other communities, including many of Toledo’s suburbs and on Put-in-Bay, where they are popular among tourists.