WUFT News

Leesburg ‘Mixing Pick-up Trucks and Golf Carts’ in New Downtown Zone

By on February 14th, 2014
Jayson Nobles, manager of Nobles Golf Carts, said that he prefers to drive a golf cart because it saves money on fuel. "It's quieter, easier and more fun than a car," he said.

Rachel Kurland / WUFT News

Jayson Nobles, manager of Nobles Golf Carts, said that he prefers to drive a golf cart because it saves money on fuel. "It's quieter, easier and more fun than a car," he said.

LEESBURG, Fla. — Leesburg drivers are driving downtown in a more convenient way: By golf cart.

Last year, city residents asked for golf-cart access to and from downtown.

“Enough people started asking for it that our commissioners asked us to take a look at it,” said Robert Sargent, public information officer for the City of Leesburg.

Now the city is trying to install a golf-cart crossing at U.S. Highway 441 and State Road 44, also known as Dixie Avenue.

In December, city commissioners approved access to the central part of downtown. A month later, golf-cart drivers were allowed to drive around the southern portion of downtown Main Street. On Feb. 7, the northern district of Main Street opened up.

But golf-cart goers are looking for simpler paths to get around.

“That section of 441 is very highly traveled,” Sargent said.

There are between four and six lanes on the highway. The speed limit is 45 at that intersection, but golf cart drivers can only go up to 25 mph.

Within the area, U.S. 441 and Dixie Avenue cut through most of the golf-cart district.

“Having golf cart access to downtown adds an extra level of convenience for our local residents,” Sargent said.

Downtown Leesburg hosts many local events, so golf cart drivers — who must be 18 or older — want an easier way to get there.

Part of Main Street is run by Lake County, which falls inside the city’s golf cart district. About 70 signs around town designate where drivers are allowed to be, but crossing major highways is currently prohibited.

Jim Stivender Jr., the public works director for the Lake County Department of Public Works, said county commissioners want to support the city and its golf cart districts.

However, he said he has heard some complaints about golf carts getting too close to other drivers on the road.

“Mixing pick-up trucks and golf carts can be a bad situation,” he said. “So far we’ve had some issues, but most of them have been very minor.”

The city needs permission from the Florida Department of Transportation to create these crossings. The city would also like to install crossings at Dixie Avenue and Canal Street and U.S. 441 and 3rd Street.

Rick Morrow, the district traffic operations engineer for the Florida Department of Transportation, said the state can only permit golf carts on state roads and highways by request.

He said he would have to evaluate Leesburg based on different criteria — speed limits, number of highway lanes and amount of lanes on the side streets — to consider allowing highway crossings.

“The golf carts would only be crossing the road at a signalized intersection,” he said. “Whether someone crossing 441 is in a car, golf cart, bicycle or on foot, we want to make that a safe opportunity for them.”

Jayson Nobles, manager of Nobles Golf Carts, sells, repairs and services golf carts. As an owner, he prefers driving a golf cart if he can because it saves money on fuel.

Nobles said he sells about 50 to 70 golf carts a month, but it’s too soon to tell if business will improve due to future changes in the golf cart district.

“It’s quieter, easier and more fun than a car,” he said.


This entry was posted in Florida and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Florida

Tis the Season to Give, But Floridians Are Largely Scrooges With Their Time

While volunteerism rates in Florida may still be ranked relatively low, people like Bill and Verna Brown try to change that by gathering food and help by giving it out to the rural areas in North Central Florida.


Program Gives Foster Youths Chance For More Normal Life

A recent pilot program is making it easier for young people in foster care to earn a driver’s license and insurance for them to achieve a more normal life.


Police Identify Shooter as FSU Alumnus

The gunman who shot three people at Florida State University’s library early Thursday before being killed by police was a lawyer who graduated from the school, a law enforcement official told The Associated Press.


Undated arrest photo of Chadwick Banks.

Chadwick Banks Executed By Lethal Injection For Double-Murder

Chadwick Banks became the 20th person executed under Gov. Rick Scott on Thursday. The 43-year-old was put to death after being convicted in the 1992 slaying of his wife, Cassandra Banks, as well as the rape and murder of his 10-year-old stepdaughter, Melody Cooper. Eighty-nine people have been put to death in Florida since executions resumed in the state in 1979.


Pastor Zach Zehnder of theCross Church in Mount Dora speaks to the crowd in an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for world’s longest speech marathon. Zehnder ultimately spoke for more than 53 hours.

Mount Dora Pastor Attempts To Break Guinness World Record For Longest Speech

A Mount Dora pastor may have broken the Guinness World Record for the Longest Speech Marathon. The speech, which lasted over 53 hours, was used to raise money for a local cause.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments