County board wants FDOT to review one-way golf cart traffic
The sidewalks at the Viera Boulevard-Interstate 95 diverging diamond interchange are not wide enough for two golf carts traveling in opposite directions to pass each other.
VIERA VOICE Jill Blue
Brevard County Commissioners, by a vote of 3-2, will ask the Florida Department of Transportation to approve or reject a plan to allow a one-way path for golf carts to travel over the Viera Boulevard-Interstate 95 diverging diamond interchange.
During the April 9 County Commissioners meeting, several residents addressed the board about allowing golf carts to drive over the interchange.
Golfers, seniors and some high school students want to use golf carts to travel east and west along Viera Boulevard.
Some county commissioners explained that the FDOT might allow for golf cart usage of a diverging diamond bridge, provided that the bridge meets minimum requirements provided by the FDOT. However, the diamond in Viera does not meet the requirements.
One of the proposals is to allow golf carts to cross the bridge in one-way-only paths, rather than two-way paths.
According to county officials, the bridge would have to be modified to have a designated golf cart path across the bridge.
The costs for any construction to be added to the current bridge was absolutely refused, on the grounds that it would be prohibitively expensive. The only option would be to first have the FDOT approve the idea of a one-way path, and then to bring the matter back before the County Commissioners in order to assess how to manage the one-way.
While some of the commissioners were in favor of the one-way, the feeling was not unanimous.
“I have a lot of hesitations with this,” said District 1 Commissioner Rita Pritchett. “Brevard County is not authorized to permit the use of golf carts to the (interchange), this really isn’t even our road. (If) someone … gets hurt, we’re opening up a situation I’m not real comfortable with.”
One of the major concerns for safety is the possibility of a collision with a golf cart and a vehicle.
“It’s a sorry situation when you’re having golf carts driven by 14-year-old kids that don’t know the rules of the road,” said District 4 Commissioner Curt Smith. “We can all imagine the horror that can occur if one of these kids (or an adult were to be) injured, or far worse, killed.
“If we can get it golf cart friendly and accessible, I'm all in favor of it.”
District 5 Commissioner Kristine Isnardi agreed.
“I know that your commissioner is working hard on your behalf, (but) I have just seen too many wild drivers,” Isnardi said. “I'm not comfortable with the idea of even asking for this, because I don't believe it's the safe option.
“There are certain golf cart communities that are safe for golf carts,” Isnardi added. "Golf carts are made for the golf course. I think the risk is too great.”
Some problems that many East and West Viera residents have been dealing with are those who are not only using golf carts as an alternate transportation, but also have been prevented from crossing from one area of Viera to the other.
This prevention essentially divides East and West Viera for golf cart users.
Viera High School freshman Anna-Maria Tea told the board she wants to use a golf cart over the interchange.
“The golf cart usage has boomed in Viera over the past few years, serving as an alternate transportation option for many people,” Tea said. “I personally used our golf cart to get to and from school, to socialize with friends and to get to and from the golf courses.”
Long-time resident William Hobson also voiced concerns.
“In 2007, when the bridge opened up, it opened up a new area for us,” Hobson said. “It gave us access to church, (to) schools, shopping and much more. By cutting off the throat (of traffic) at Viera and at Wickham, there’s no way to get to the other side.
“I never thought it was illegal to go over the bridge,” Hobson stated from the podium. “And in the 10 years that I’ve been going over that bridge (via golf cart), I’ve never experienced a problem.”