An Open Letter to Westfield Mayor Andy Cook

Thank you once again for meeting with me last week. Our meeting was informative, enlightening, heart breaking, and unnerving. Basically, everything I thought it would be leading up to it.

You listened to my concerns about the Golf Cart Route being a public safety issue but I honestly don’t think you heard me.

They talked about Jimmy
We talked about Golf Carts
Gotta love Hamilton County

Arriving a bit early I found myself locked out of the City Services Building but you did come get me almost on time. Our conversation covered a few noteworthy topics, was mostly friendly as neither one of us agrees that arguing gets anything done. I came seeking a conversation, information, and facts. And thankfully that is exactly what we gave each other. As I told you when you suggested that I run against you for Mayor or try to get elected to the city council:

I’d rather not spend my time discussing the aesthetics of our suburb

But the safety of our citizens, especially that of my daughters, as they grow up on the Midland Trail is important enough for me to call for a meeting. The Golf Cart Route runs not just past our front yard, and as a result is our most utilized section of the trail and I will not just allow this topic to be ignored.

Me, on Westfield Golf Cart Route

I along with some sitting council members, and a few more running for city council, believe that golf carts being allowed on any existing city trail poses an unjustifiable risk to the general public for a variety of reasons:

  1. The trails were not designed or constructed with Golf Carts in mind. As a matter of fact, golf cart and any motorized vehicles were originally strictly prohibited from use on the trail.
  2. The roughly 1.5 mile section of the Midland Trail/Golf Cart Route, from Kroger on Carey Road to The Rail on Park Street is basically impossible to maneuver safely with a golf cart by itself. That does not include the walkers, joggers, and bike riders who already populate the trail. Irregardless of anyone’s understanding and/or participation in trail safety etiquette.
  3. Even my friends with golf carts acknowledge all those “other” golf cart drivers that allow their unlicensed sons and daughters to drive as a concern.
  4. Other concerns from those I’ve spoken with include distracted driving, trail width, and a few have even expressed their worry about drinking and driving. Which given your main reason of the Golf Cart Route to get people to Park Street where they dine, wine, and enjoy probably should be a concern when considering #1 and #2.

My proposal to accommodate those folks was fairly simple. You direct golf carts south on Carey Road along current posted Golf Cart Route:

travel west through latest Bridgewater development south of 161st

access Union follow north

take a left on Mill

left on Jersey

left on Poplar/Shamrock BLVD*

to wherever you said golf cart should park

I know, I know, I know. How do they get from Bridgewater to Union?

One free option that would allow legal golf carts to travel legally in Westfield would be to utilizing streets and trails of Oak Manor and The Pines neighborhoods by directing golf carts onto Durmast, Old Vine and Emerald Lanes. Hook up with existing trail. The caution tape guy has since moved so you won’t have to deal with him. Then, onto Union.

You seemed to balk at having Bridgewater pay for a dedicated golf cart trail within their latest development. So there are other ways to get Golf Carts to the newly named “Midland Cultural District”. But that would place the burden on all tax payers for something not everyone would use. I certainly do not want to pay to construct a straight line of sight trail along 161st Street. But I’d assume you wait until those parcels come up for sale and force the builder to include the trail as I have been told is common practice with any subdivision constructed today.

When you mentioned meeting Betsy DeVos at Grand Park I bit my tongue, followed the Golden Rule, plus it was getting late.

When you proudly stated,

There is only one political party in Hamilton County

I couldn’t argue.

When you touted fiscal conservatism.

I agreed. But, dug a little deeper as I’m not completely up to speed on debt spending, consolidating, or shuffling of funds and assets within the city, state, and or national level(s). I do however understand, and we agreed, that continuing to add to our national debt is bad for the long term health of our country.

That was where we left off. After about 45 minutes we both had other places to be. I still have more questions and I hope to discuss them with not just you but my neighbors, trails users, and residents of our shared city.

Thanks again for your time.

I hope the Golf Cart Route is an issue that remains a topic of conversation moving forward especially during this election cycle.

Ken.

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