A plan ‘fore!’ trails: Mayor introduces idea of Westfield as golf cart city


Mayor Scott Willis has a long list of ideas for the future of Westfield. His latest, he said, might not be everyone’s cup of ‘tee.’

“The vision is, our entire trail system — other than Monon Trail — will open up to golf carts,” Willis said during a town hall meeting at Westfield Washington Public Library June 20.

First passed in 2010, the city’s golf cart ordinance permits golf carts under specific conditions. In addition to required safety equipment, golf carts are only permitted on roads with a speed limit of 25 mph or less and can only be operated by licensed drivers 16 and older.

Golf carts are permitted on the eastern portion of the Midland Trace Trail. Willis said he wants to expand on that.

“(The trails) are identified as safe for golf carts,” Willis said, noting that most approved trail routes are east of Union Street, including Bridgewater, Oak Manor, Brookside and areas to the east of downtown and south of Ind. 32.

“It’s a heavy density of golf carts in that area,” he said. “We opened up a trail many years ago to allow golf carts to get from that area into our downtown area. So, this has been going on for eight to ten years (on the Midland Trace Trail). We’ve had no accidents, nobody injured. It is safe. It’s going to be scary for some people, I get it, it’s change. But I run that trail, I run the Monon almost on a daily basis. What scares me more is unleashed dogs — I’ve been bitten on the trails — and bicycles.”

Willis said his plan is modeled after the golf cart ordinance in Peachtree City, Georgia.

“The entire community is golf carts,” Willis said. “Yes, they have cars, but golf carts are the primary mode of transportation. You go to the high school, you see more golf carts than you see cars.”

Willis said the only distinction Westfield will make is keeping the age limit for golf carts at 16. He said in Peachtree City, children as young as 12 can be seen riding around town.

“Their trails are about 4 feet more narrow than what we have in Westfield,” Willis said. “We can do this. It will be controversial. There will be growing pains. But I do believe this will be a unique feature to Westfield that no other Hamilton County city has that is going to be a real enhancer to the quality of life for our residents.”

Willis said as plans firm up, the city will address areas of concern, including portions of trails that need to be widened or adding safety measures such as additional signage. Willis said there will also be trail connections created for neighborhoods that do not have easy access to trails.

The city is in the early stages of the golf cart vision. A team will head to Peachtree City to do research and meet with their elected leaders and the chief of police. A timeline for that junket has not been determined.

“We’re going to do our homework before we open up the floodgates,’ Willis said. “But I want to plant the seeds because it’s going to come, probably in 2025.”

golf cart parking
Westfield is already friendly to golf carts, including reserved parking spots at the new Westfield Washington Public library. (Photo by Marney Simon)

Willis said if his golf cart vision comes to fruition, it will lead to a better and more desirable Westfield.

“(The trails) are wide enough, they’re safe enough and right now only one portion of our community has the ability to access downtown (on a golf cart),” Willis said. “We want to create golf cart charging areas where you can get on your golf cart from anywhere in the city, you get downtown, and you can have a bite to eat any evening you want. I’ll tell you what, if you’ve never done it, it’s fantastic. I’ve done it for years with my kids. There’s nothing more exciting than saying ‘get on the golf cart and let’s go get pizza downtown.’ It’s a wonderful thing to share with the family.”

willis golf cart
Mayor Scott Willis explains his ‘Golf Cart Vision’ during a town hall meeting June 20 at the Westfield Washington Public Library. (Photo by Marney Simon)


The city’s ordinance on golf carts was passed in 2010 and amended in 2011 and 2018. In 2020 a petition was launched by a resident to rescind the ordinance after a near-miss accident between a bicyclist and a golf cart on the Midland Trace Trail. However, her husband was nearly injured by a cart while cycling. That effort was not successful.

The ordinance establishes rules and routes, including the Midland Trace Trail between Grand Junction Plaza and Carey Road; Carey Road between the Midland Trace Trail and Bridgewater Club; within Bridgewater Club; and within Chatham Hills.

Golf cart rules include:

  • Golf carts shall be equipped with headlights, taillights and turn signals. Between sunset and sunrise, golf carts must include one of the following: slow moving vehicle sign, a bicycle flag or rear flashing light.
  • Operators of golf carts within the corporate limits must be at least 16 years of age, possess a valid driver’s license and carry insurance.
  • Operators of golf carts must yield the right of way to all pedestrians and bicycles and are only permitted to operate upon roadways with a speed limit of 25 mph or less. Crossing of roads with speed limits in excess of 25 mph is permitted only where posted.

ATVs, utility vehicles and modified golf carts are not permitted. Golf carts must be inspected and registered with the City of Westfield.

Read the text of the golf cart ordinance at westfield.in.gov/egov/documents/1543520378_43272.pdf.