FOLEY – Allowing golf carts on more streets will help South Baldwin Regional Medical Center move people as the hospital grows and make Foley’s downtown more accessible, city officials …
FOLEY – Allowing golf carts on more streets will help South Baldwin Regional Medical Center move people as the hospital grows and make Foley’s downtown more accessible, city officials said.
The Foley City Council voted Monday, March 21, to lower the speed limits on several streets near South Baldwin Regional Medical Center to 25 miles an hour.
Public Safety Director David Wilson said the streets include North Alston Street, Wilson Boulevard and Burner Street near the hospital.
Wilson said the change is needed to allow golf carts to be operated legally on the streets where hospital officials plan to start shuttle services to move staff members between facility buildings in the area.
“The project we’re looking at will enhance the hospital operations and also enhance our continuity to our downtown area, both of which involve designating some streets as golf-cart designated streets,” Wilson said. “They’ll have the capability to run their doctors back and forth between the buildings on golf carts.”
Alabama law allows municipal councils to designate certain streets where golf carts can be operated. Wilson said those streets must have speed limits of 25 miles an hour or less.
The limit on North Alston Street near the hospital is 30 miles an hour.
Mayor Ralph Hellmich said the change is needed as the hospital grows.
“All of that area is going to be busier over the next couple of years and, also as it develops,” Hellmich said. “We don’t need high speed limits next to a hospital in the first place. We already have that on 59. To me it’s natural. The way this thing works out is, if you don’t post, a lot of times you default to a 30-mile-an-hour as per the state ordinance, but they set up golf-cart friendly streets to be less than 25, so you have to kind of address that.”
Hellmich said the hospital also plans to add additional parking farther from the main building. Golf cart shuttles would help move people between the parking areas and the hospital.
“By lowering these, this also give them the ability, because they’re going to have some offsite parking and this will give them the ability to use golf carts to shuttle the employees from offsite parking, so this is something that will help the hospital in the construction process,” Hellmich said.
Wilson said designating all of Alston Street as a route for golf carts will also help connect north Foley with the downtown area to the south. South Alston Street now has a 25-mile-an-hour speed limit and golf carts are allowed on that route.
“By doing that on the rest of Alston, we would have some connectivity on all of Alston down to our downtown area, which would enhance what we’re trying to do to get folks to the downtown area,” Wilson said.
Hellmich said city officials are considering allowing golf carts on other streets around Foley but will have to study each area. He said carts will not be allowed on streets with heavy traffic.
“So, that’s what we’re looking at across the city, when it makes sense,” Hellmich said. “We’re not going to propose golf carts to be utilized on streets that are too intense.”