“Every rose has its thorn, every night has its dawn.”
I heard those lyrics from a 30-year-old rock song recently and it made me think about Charleston and its place on the world stage this week. Starting today, and with each passing day of this week, Charleston’s thorn for thousands of visitors and locals alike, may very well be the prickly price of getting from one part of town to the other.
A national sporting event arrives in our port city with international participants. It’s time to welcome the U.S. Women’s Open.
It doesn’t matter if you care for golf or not. Either way, if you’re trying to travel in West Ashley, James Island or on the peninsula — pack your patience.
Tournament organizers and city officials have been plotting and planning the various routes for patrons, participants and volunteers. There are essentially only a couple of direct paths to the golf course at The Country Club of Charleston, and one of them crosses a drawbridge. Let’s hope it doesn’t jam or stick in the open position this week. That bridge operator might just be under the most pressure of any participant entered in the championship.
One if by land
It could be a tough week to be a traffic reporter. The players and caddies and officials of the event’s governing body — the United States Golf Association — will have little trouble arriving to the first tee on time. Those parking passes are pure gold.
The volunteers will be shuttled from a lot near the James Island County Park. Spectators will board buses at Citadel Mall for a ride down Savannah Highway.
The idea is to keep the various cars with just one or two occupants from clogging-up Charleston’s already choked-up arteries.
It might be a good idea to see how close an Uber driver might get you. Then, again, you might end-up close to McLeod Plantation with a healthy walk still in front of you.
If the blimp’s in town — that might be an option? But it’s not that easy to people-watch from that altitude.
The Wappoo Cut has a fair amount of boat traffic. If you’ve been thinking about purchasing an amphibious car— this might just be the ultimate week to own one.
Mind your manners
Charleston’s reputation for being the most mannerly and the top travel destination will be tested this week. As each day passes, the angst and aggravation will reach a boiling point as we wait for the traffic to inch forward in our air-conditioned vehicles.
If you’re asked where somebody can get a tasty cup of she crab soup, help’em out.
If a tourist needs directions, show’em which one way street will promptly guide them to the next one.
The world’s been coming to Charleston for a few years now — we've got this.
We’ve always adapted and adjusted, whether it be flooded streets, hurricanes, over-development or just plain ol' heat and humidity.
Yes, every rose has its thorn — and right now, our most prickly problem is traffic. And you know what? When the final putt drops and our visitors leave, our lovely Lowcountry will still be congested.
So, show some Southern hospitality and help our visitors navigate from here to there. Be careful, though, if you’re too nice — they might not leave.
While in traffic last week I saw a bumper sticker that succinctly says it all. It simply said — We Full.