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South Valley Riverton Journal

Officials discourage electric vehicle use in city parks

May 08, 2023 12:37PM ● By Travis Barton

City officials are considering an ordinance prohibiting the use of motorized vehicles—such as four-wheelers, golf carts or electric bikes—in the city’s 33 parks. 

The concern, raised in an April council study meeting by Councilmember Troy McDougal, comes after a wet winter where officials found people using those vehicles on park grass, damaging the surface. 

How to deter such behavior was the question brought before the City Council since the city currently has no code against it. 

One option was to place signage. Another was to formalize it in code “to give law enforcement some actual teeth,” McDougal said, adding sending officers out for an infraction with no legal code “is wasteful.” 

While major parks like Riverton City Park, Western Springs Park and Centennial Park are primary areas for this sort of use, McDougal highlighted two parks in his area that are damaged every year by four-wheelers and snowmobiles: Canyonview Park and Swensen Farms Park. 

City officials said this is new territory for law enforcement on a municipal level, with more intense discussions taking place at universities dealing with electronic bikes that can reach 30 mph or higher on walking pathways. 

Because of that aspect, Councilmember Andy Pierucci said he is open to a possible ordinance for public safety, but generally supported using signage first. 

Both Pierucci and Councilmember Tawnee McCay wanted more information and data to understand the scale of the impact, like how much damage this costs the city, if the problem is increasing or if it’s simply more noticeable due to this year’s snowy conditions. 

McCay was reluctant to add more regulation based on a uniquely weather-altered year and a few complaints. 

Councilmember Claude Wells agreed, supporting the need for signs over legislation. 

“I don’t know if we want to craft ordinances on something with a couple complaints,” he said. 

City staff said they would begin working on those signs and bring ordinance drafts back for council consideration. 

“We’ll get those signs up so people are aware of how much damage, cause of the weather, can occur with the wet ground,” City Manager David Brickey said. λ