Residents on the east side of Solana Beach will soon be able to legally drive their golf carts on most streets to and from the Lomas Santa Fe Executive Golf Course.
Despite their ubiquitous use on streets east of Interstate 5, golf carts are not street-legal vehicles under state traffic laws. However, local jurisdictions can approve their use on streets within one mile of a golf course, marked 25 miles per hour and can cross higher-speed streets safely.
The Solana Beach City Council unanimously approved legalizing golf carts to be driven on most streets east of the freeway, except for Lomas Santa Fe, San Andres, Las Banderas and parts of Highland Drive.
This provides access to about 95 percent of eastside residents, though there are some who will be cut off from driving to the golf course because there is no safe route. However, city officials said they would continue investigating further options.
The ordinance will go into effect in mid-February. Individuals wishing to drive their golf cart legally on city streets must obtain a $20 permit from the city by showing proof of a valid driver's license and insurance.
The total cost of implementing the program is estimated at $23,000, which includes speed studies, curb cuts and improvements, signage and permitting procedures.
Golf cart drivers and the Lomas Santa Fe Country Club applauded the city for working diligently to address the issue, which was surprisingly raised earlier this year by the Sheriff's Department.
"You've done exactly the right thing for our community," said Tom Boardman at the Nov. 19 council meeting.