As the U.S. Open inches closer, USGA officials are revealing more details about parking and transportation plans to help get spectators to and from the event.
The 2011 U.S. Open, a high-profile golf championship, will take place June 13-19 at Bethesda’s bringing with it an anticipated 35,000 spectators during each day of the tournament. USGA, which runs the tournament, released a statement detailing the transportation plan Wednesday.
About 80-85 percent of spectators at the U.S. Open are expected to arrive via shuttle bus from one of the Open’s designated parking lots, in Gaithersburg and at Dulles Airport, according to Reg Jones, U.S. Open Senior Director. About 15,000 parking spaces have been set aside, according to the release. The rest of the spectators are expected to arrive via Metrorail, Metrobus, bicycle, or passenger, taxi or limousine drop-off. A reservation-based shuttle system will transport spectators to and from the Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro station for an $8 fee, but the service can only accommodate 3,000-3,500 spectators daily, Jones said.
“Due to our distance and the logistical challenges we would have in trying to transport people from Metro stations, it really is much more of a supplemental option for us,” Jones said.
Since the Metro shuttle service is limited, spectators will need to find other means of transportation if the service becomes maxed out.
“The reason we have the reservation system is we don’t want more people than we can handle to come by Metro,” Jones said. “The last thing we would want is for too many people to utilize the Metro that we can’t handle them with our buses.”
The transportation planning process has taken a year, and was developed in conjunction with officials from Montgomery County, the Maryland State Highway Administration, the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Washington Metropolitan Airport Authority, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority and other agencies, according to the press release.
“Parking and transportation is difficult in this area on a day to day basis, and certainly it’s one of our biggest challenges for the championship,” Jones said. “I think we’ve got a good plan, and as long as everyone utilizes the plan like it’s designed, I think it will go fairly smoothly.”
More details on how to get there:
180 shuttles will be operating from the designated parking areas at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds and the Crown Farm property in Gaithersburg. The shuttles will run from 6a.m.-9p.m. daily during the tournament. On June 13 and 14, all spectators should park at the Fairgrounds. From June 15-18, spectators travelling northbound on I-270 should park at Crown Farm, and those travelling southbound on I-270 should continue to park at the Fairgrounds. The trip from the lots to Congressional should take about 25 minutes.
Parking is also available in a reserved lot at Dulles Airport, but a parking pass is required. Spectators should call the championship office at (301) 365-5500 to reserve a parking pass.
Metro commuters should take the Red Line to the Grosvenor-Strathmore stop. Spectators travelling from the Metro must make a reservation in advance via Transportation Management Services, Inc., a transportation contractor for USGA. The ride costs $8 and should take about 20 minutes. Visit www.tms-llc.com/usopen/ for more information.
Ride On operates the 36 bus, which stops near Congressional. While it doesn’t operate on the weekends, “if it appears during the week there is a high level of demand, we might end up running extra service for that route,” county spokeswoman Esther Bowring told Patch.
The T2 bus also stops near the club and runs during the week and on the weekend, though it’s operated by RideOn on weekends and Metro during the week.
Passenger Drop Off
A drop-off location will be staged at the for passenger, taxi or limousine drop off. Vehicles with 15 passengers or fewer can drop off spectators here. The school won’t be accessible via River Road, however – cars will need to access the school via Bradley Boulevard. Private coaches and mini-buses will be directed to the Fairgrounds and will not be able to offload at Norwood.
While bikes are a no-no at Congressional, cyclists can park their bikes at the Norwood school and cross the street to the tournament.