Mark George was concerned about the coming invasion, all the cars, all the crowds, all the hubbub.
He lives in a quiet, well-treed University Place neighborhood not far from the main entrance to Chambers Bay.
“My neighbors told me to get a chaise longue, wear a Speedo and clean my guns in the front yard. That’ll keep ’em away,” George said, standing in his driveway, earlier this week.
“I’m not a golfer,” he said. “I can’t figure out how to hook a fishing reel to the club.”
George, a Curtis High School graduate and retired boiler operator, need not have worried.
“I’ve seen a lot of people walking, and a lot of buses,” he said. “It hasn’t been bad. It hasn’t been bad at all. The impact is pretty low.”
In that he is not alone.
Three teens borne by bicycle and skateboard skirt the roundabout in a traffic-restricted zone just in front of the main entrance to the Chambers Bay course.
“I was expecting a little more,” said Ayden Pierce, 17.
Nikki Carter, who lives on Oas Drive, was walking with a friend pushing a baby carriage along the otherwise empty Grandview Drive West.
“It’s been awesome,” she said. “I have friends in Puyallup who say it’s worse traffic than at the fair.”
These days in University Place, she said, “It’s like a peaceful ease.”
The freeways and city arterials might be packed with buses and shuttles, and Bridgeport Way might be jammed at times, but here in the eye of the storm you could hear a child whisper. Up along the street across from the entrance to the course, “For Rent” signs stand forlorn in the front yards of a few empty homes. With vehicle restrictions, it is unlikely that last-minute potential renters would even have the opportunity to take a look.
“The only issue we have is that they took down the foliage and the trees,” said Robert Figueroa, on 97th Avenue Court West. His backyard abuts property owned by New Tacoma Cemetery — property recently cleared to make way for U.S. Open parking.
“We have wildlife that lived there,” he said.
When the space was cleared to make way for cars, Figueroa said, “I saw the rabbits shaking.
“I get it. They have to park cars,” he said. “We like the Open being here. It’s awesome.”
“Between my husband and I, in our opinion, it’s just great,” said Roberta Joseph, who lives on 60th Street West.
“On a typical weekend when the weather is like this, a lot of people come from surrounding areas, and they don’t cause a lot of problems. But they’re not here,” Joseph said. “It’s just the buses.”
Her neighbors generally agree that things are going splendidly, she said.
“We have a couple of grumpy old neighbors who complained a few months ago. I think they’re realizing it’s no big deal,” she said.
“Things have been great. We’ve had no problems at all,” said Kevin Johnson, who lives on 58th Street Court West.
“It’s been quiet. It’s just been a real good experience. I was expecting more noise. We haven’t had any of that,” he said. “The neighbors are all surprised how quiet it is.”
“It’s nice to see all the police here,” said Virginia Rodgers, who lives nearby.
“I’m just wondering if we can keep them,” said her husband, Russell.
He too mentioned the deforestation at the cemetery.
“It kicks up a huge amount of dust,” he said.
The only problem he has encountered concerns customers of his in-home photography business. Without the required passes, they haven’t been able to visit.
But he was able to escort the delivery of a new water heater.
It is a sword with two exclusive edges.
“It’s kind of fun,” he said, “being able to drive in where nobody else can come in.”
Meanwhile, far above the course near Curtis High School, on the upper reaches of Olympic Boulevard, Kris Dozherty said, “There has been no impact up here. I go out every morning to the Lakewood Y, and it seems to be going quite smoothly. I thought there might be a problem.”
A city of University Place Public Works pickup drives slowly by, and the driver waves.
“That’s our traffic,” Dozherty said.