While the U.S. Open is expected to bring in an estimated 250,000 weekly spectators, Puyallup police officials say with parking at the Washington State Fairgrounds, locals can expect the week-long golf extravaganza to be similar to the crowds that the fair brings in.
The Open will be held June 15 to 21 at Chambers Bay. All general spectators driving to the event will park at two local parking lots. The first is at the fairgrounds, and the second is at Fort Steilacoom Park in Lakewood. Each day, shuttles from both of the parking lots will begin picking up spectators at 5:30 a.m., and continue for one hour once the tournament finishes each day.
With nearly 20,000 people per day expected to utilize the parking at the fairgrounds, what does this mean for locals living around the lots?
Puyallup police Capt. Scott Engle says to expect fair-like traffic the week of the U.S. Open.
“Wednesday and Thursday we expect it to be fairly light when practices are going on,” he said. “We expect it to build after that.”
The Puyallup PD has no current plans of road closures, and will route Open traffic directly from state Route 410 to Pioneer to 7th Street, and then to filling the Blue and Gold lots first. The Washington State Patrol will man the route, and Puyallup’s motorcycle unit will assist troopers. South Meridian, however, will be closed that weekend for Meeker Days.
“It will seem like a fair day to locals,” Engle said.
Commutes on Thursday evening, as well as both Friday’s morning and evening commute, are expected to see heavier congestion than normal.
“We encourage locals to be patient,” Engle said. “We are also encouraging local folks to use side roads, and use their local knowledge.”
The Puyallup police , Pierce County Sheriff and Washington State Patrol are all working with the United States Golf Association to minimize the impact on local residents.
“The transportation plan for the 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay is the result of countless hours and an 18-month collaboration with community officials,” said Hank Thompson, director of U.S. Open administration for the USGA. “We are confident — after hosting many championships in small communities — that this plan will minimize delays for local residents while ensuring safe and orderly parking and shuttle services for all attendees.”
“It is a great opportunity to showcase Puyallup,” Engle said. “It’s a chance for our community to shine.”
However, if problems arise during the Open, Engle says his department will be ready to jump into action if needed.