By Stefanie Jackson – When driving to Cape Charles, if regular visitors get the feeling they’re approaching the town’s 25 mph speed limit a bit sooner than usual, they’re right.
Cape Charles recently extended its 25 mph speed limit by about 1/3 mile on Stone Road, the road that leads directly to the town’s historic district from Route 13.
Driving into town, the 25 mph speed limit now begins at the intersection of Stone Road and Hermitage Road, just before drivers reach the Cape Charles Brewing Company restaurant on their left.
Previously, drivers would not encounter the 25 mph speed limit until after they passed the restaurant and reached the Cape Charles water tower – a landmark painted to resemble a lighthouse – also on the left.
The Cape Charles Town Council had passed a resolution April 15 to request the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) to modify the speed limit “for the safety of the employees, customers, residents and visitors to the Cape Charles Brewing Company and the Town of Cape Charles,” according to an announcement posted June 22 at www.capecharles.org
Town Manager John Hozey received notification from VDOT about two months later that the request had been approved, and the updated speed limit took effect June 23.
Additionally, VDOT approved a step-down speed limit of 40 mph that starts at the intersection of Stone Road and Cassatt Parkway (aka state Route 462, which leads to the Bay Creek community) and ends at the intersection of Stone Road and Hermitage Road.
VDOT also approved the installation of rumble strips on the westbound lane of Stone Road (the right lane if heading into town) just before the new beginning of the 25 mph zone.
Golf carts are allowed on the road in 25 mph zones but Police Chief Jim Pruitt advised that the golf cart path to Cape Charles Brewing Company be used until the rumble strips are installed and drivers become accustomed to the new speed limit.
Pruitt also issued new golf cart guidelines in late June, including new fines for golf cart driving violations.
With the majority of the 2021 tourist season still ahead, “we’re all gearing up for a lot of visitors” and “the Cape Charles Police Department wants to ensure a safe experience for everyone, visitors and residents alike,” he wrote.
“One of the things that makes our town a fun and unique experience is the ever-growing use of golf carts. Yet it is important for all of us to do our part to make sure our golf cart culture here remains a safe one,” Pruitt said.
Golf cart guidelines include:
- A valid driver’s license is required to operate a golf cart.
- All “rules of the road” apply to golf carts, the same that apply to other motor vehicles.
- Golf carts are not permitted on roads with speed limits above 25 mph.
- Golf carts are not permitted on sidewalks or in Central Park.
“Unfortunately, the Police Department has been seeing an increase of inappropriate and unsafe behavior when it comes to golf carts. This bad behavior tends to threaten the overall golf cart culture we’ve all come to enjoy. So, the town will be stepping up enforcement of these violations this year,” Pruitt said.
Examples of fines for golf cart violations include $100 for a first offense of underage golf-cart driving and $250 for a second offense.
Anyone who observes a golf cart violation but does not see a police officer in the area may call dispatch at 757-678-0458 to report the violation.
Pruitt said, “We really do not want anyone to have a bad experience here, so please help us spread the word to follow the rules and to help keep Cape Charles a safe and enjoyable golf cart town for everyone.”