Sep 272012
 

Lummi Island is more like Fidalgo, and Sammish than, say, Waldron. Because of the ferry we experience few of the inconveniences of islands not served by car ferries. The Whatcom Chief has been a virtual bridge to the mainland. The ferry makes the island attractive to a number of people who wouldn’t consider Waldron, Sinclair or Blakely, for example.

But what if we were forced into a situation with limited car ferry service? Could we deal with it? How would we deal with it?

It’s actually not so rare to find car free or limited car islands and communities around the world. You can verify this statement by viewing this website.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_car-free_places

If there was limited car ferry service we would, as a natural result have limited vehicle use. For one reason, it would be harder to get gasoline. We could look to other ways to move around the island: shuttles, livery service, car share, ride sharing, hitchhiking, bikes, motorcycles, electric bikes, scooters, electric cars, Segways, by foot, etc.

For all of us it’s hard not to contemplate grabbing the keys and jumping in our personal auto and going about our business, filling the tank when we need to with not unreasonably priced fuel. But there are other ways we could get around if it were necessary.

Right now the county could designate Lummi Island as a golf cart zone so that street legal golf carts could be driven on our roads. Using golf carts and other neighborhood electric vehicles would be a great start to saving fuel and reducing the number of automobiles on the road. (A couple of us have made repeated requests to the County Council to look at this with no action so far: note in the comments section of this blog the recent back and forth between Mike Skehan and Barbara Brenner.

In 2010 the Washington legislature approved the use of golf carts on roads with speed limits of 25mph or less (the Lummi Island speed limit).

Here’s the ordinance passed by the city of Langley on Whidbey Island: Most of these ordinances require that golf carts be equipped with headlights, taillights, rear view mirrors and other safety equipment. Golf carts can be electric or gas powered. Obviously, in a reduced fuel environment electric power would be preferred.

Golf carts are modified to make them into Neighbor Electric Vehicles (NEV). Why golf carts? Golf carts are a relatively inexpensive way to begin. At $4 a gallon on golf cart dealer estimates that an electric golf cart gives you 200 mph based on the cost of recharging a cart. There are other benefits as well (which also apply to NEVs and full size electric cars): less maintenance, quiet, cheaper insurance, in most cases a lower initial investment than a gas powered car, easier to park.

Golf carts are not as comfortable as NEVs and electric cars. But, they could get you around the island and make a good transition vehicle.

Next: more about NEVs

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  4 Responses to “A Way To Continue Happy Motoring”

  1. If you haven’t taken the survey on Nextdoor Lummi Island, I would encourage you to do so. Or just go to the Survey Monkey from here.
    http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/57WNVGX
    I’ll post the results tomorrow, so don’t put it off. It takes a minute and will be very helpful to have some polling if/when we ask for the Council to create a Lummi Island Golf Cart Zone.

  2. Here’s the Survey Results from Nextdoor Lummi Island.

    SUMMARY: About 80% were unaware of Golf Cart Zone regulations. Of 102 responses, nobody knew the correct answer to the rules. 75% of Islanders said they support having a Golf Cart Zone and 45% said they would use it.
    As to Nextdoor usage, about one quarter of the current 455 members responded, whereas when we first started the Nextdoor website late last year, about one third responded. I attribute the difference to users who no longer receive updates and quit using the site, the survey itself, and randomness of surveys in general.

    DETAIL RESULTS & COMMENTS:
    1. Did you know the legislature authorized Golf Cart Zones statewide 2 years ago?
    79% NO, 21% YES

    2. Have you heard that Whatcom County may consider allowing Golf Cart Zones?
    78% NO, 22% YES

    Commentary: The first two questions were asked to gage public awareness about the new law and interest in Whatcom County to explore adoption of Golf Cart Zones.
    Question 3 was asked to determine public perception of what would likely be required and a bit of a trick question, given that when confronted with a list of items, then an ‘All of the Above’ response, often that’s the correct answer. Not this time, as only the first three choices were correct. Don’t feel bad, not one person choose only the first 3 answers. This question was skipped by 17% of respondents which makes sense given most didn’t even know a law existed.

    3. Which of the following is required to have a Golf Cart Zone?
    Maximum speed limit is posted at 25 mph. TRUE
    Signage entering the area is required. TRUE
    Carts must have seat belts. TRUE
    Carts must have head and tail lights. DEPENDS Reflectors are required.
    Drivers must be licensed. FALSE (a prior license or learners permit is generally accepted accepted)
    Carts are not allowed at night. DEPENDS on the County
    All of the Above. FALSE

    Note: Some counties have added provisions, such as lights to make their local ordinance more stringent than the state minimums.

    4. If Whatcom Co adopted a Golf Cart Ordinance for all roads on Lummi Island, would you be for or against it?
    74% For, 11% Against, 15% Don’t Know

    5. If Lummi Island were allowed to legally have Golf Carts, would you use one?
    45% Yes, 17% No, 38% Not Sure

    I really appreciate your taking the survey and received No emails objecting to taking surveys on Nextdoor. If nothing else, we have some information to determine how effective Nextdoor is in reaching Islanders. It will be interesting to watch trends in future years. The Leads have been asking for feedback dashboards, but so far that hasn’t occurred. It’s still a great community resource.
    On Golf Cart Zones, Barbara Brenner has renewed her interest in drafting an ordinance for Whatcom County, a process she started last year, and then it got side tracked. Randy’s ‘Transitions Lummi Island’ is a pretty good resource to keep track of this issue and he will be running a series on Island transportation. Thanks Again.

  3. For 3 recent citywide festivals, Langley (on Whidbey) rented a 6 person cart to pick up people at 8 stops and take them for a loop thru the businesses down town, the harbor and our cultural arts center.
    Locals and tourists loved it. The city is exploring buying one for a mini-shuttle service during special events. It was gas driven to give it enough power.

  4. I suggest a golf cart race around the island to bring attention to the issue, think Isle of Mann for pokesters. Open, modified, stock classifications. Awards for least drain, best dressed, etc. It would be one quiet race and a lot of fun.

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