In Ramsey, few golf cart drivers take to the streets

  • Article by: PAUL LEVY
  • Star Tribune
  • August 21, 2012 - 11:13 PM

The enthusiasm for a new ordinance allowing golf carts on Ramsey's city streets appears to have hit the rough, although it's still early.

As of late last week, only four residents had registered for permits that would allow them to drive their carts on streets in the city other than state and county roads.

The ordinance, which was passed on a 4-2 City Council vote in June and took effect exactly a month ago, also allows residents 18 and older to drive all-terrain vehicles on Ramsey streets. That, apparently, is more attractive, as 47 ATV drivers had registered as of a week ago, said Ramsey Police Chief Jim Way.

"I've seen a couple out and about," Way said of golf carts and ATVs on the streets. "I can't imagine where they'd be going."

Mayor Bob Ramsey said last week that he wasn't surprised by the paltry number of residents who rushed to register to drive golf carts on the streets.

"It wasn't about numbers," he said. "It was all about freedom."

Mayor Ramsey was among the council members who pushed for the ordinance, saying that citizens had been deprived of too many liberties. But to Council Member Sarah Strommen, who voted against the ordinance and is running for mayor against Ramsey, the issue is safety.

"With so few people registering, I would question the urgency and why we placed a priority" on the ordinance, Strommen said. "I have had a number of residents who are very concerned from a safety aspect and from a community-image aspect. I remain concerned."

Golf carts and ATVs are not allowed on Ramsey's sidewalks, trails or ditches. But there's nothing prohibiting someone whose driver's license has been suspended, even for drunken driving, from tooling around in an ATV or golf cart.

Red Wing has an ordinance that allows golf carts on city streets, but only if drivers have permits and are on the way to or from golf courses.

Wayzata recently passed an ordinance allowing bay-side restaurants to deliver meals to docks using recreational vehicles, including golf carts. Residents in two single-family neighborhoods will also be allowed to use golf carts within their neighborhoods to get to lake accesses or nearby docks.

Paul Levy • 612-673-4419

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