Posted on June 16, 2014 at 6:18 AM
Monday, Jun 16 at 6:26 AM
UNIVERSITY PLACE - Dawn Brundage can sit on her deck and see it all -- the sunsets, the water, and the entrance to the Chambers Bay Golf Course.
"I wish they would tell us what to expect, I wish I could tell you," says the longtime resident of University Place, who is anxious about the US Open coming to town. She says when the US Amateur was held back in 2010, "It was a mess, people up and down, up and down the driveway."
The US Open will begin at Chambers Bay on June 15th, 2015, and is expected to bring up to 240,000 people to University Place. It will be an organizational challenge, but it is also a crowning achievement for Pierce County. Leaders bought an old gravel mine on the waterfront, back in the 1990's, and converted it to a municipal golf course a decade later with the idea of hosting one of golf's pinnacle events.
"It's one thing to have an idea, it's another thing to carry it out," says Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy. "This is a mega event, not a simple small tournament, this is huge." She says complaints about transportation have been few and far between, but the USGA and County have been working on it for a couple of years.
There are only a couple of access points, via a two lane road, to the course. That road, Grandview, is the access road as well, for people like Brundage.
McCarthy says only golfers and event organizers will be allowed access to the course by car, and spectators will be forced to ride shuttles to and from Chambers Bay. Ferries have been ruled out. McCarthy says JBLM, the Puyallup Fairgrounds, and Cheney Stadium have been mentioned, by event organizers, as possible park and ride spots.
The Executive also says that the County, BNSF, and Sound Transit are also working out final plans for a Tournament-only Train Service, from Seattle to the Chambers Bay shoreline, "so folks could literally get on the King Street Station in Downtown Seattle, and take Sounder all the way right here to the golf course." Seattle is bound to reap the financial benefits from the event, because University Place, a city of 32,000 people, does not have a single hotel or motel. Spectators will have to commute from Tacoma, Lakewood, or other cities.
Brundage says she'd like to know if she'll be able to get in and out of her house, "It's a golf tournament, but we live here, so it has to be about us at some point."
McCarthy says a final transportation plan will likely not be announced until early next year.