Motorists and residents in the neighborhoods surrounding Colonial Country Club are a bit thrown off by a new traffic plan that includes barricading many residential and pass-through streets.
Roughly 143,000 people are expected to attend the annual Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial tournament this week. Many events are already underway, and the festivities continue through Sunday. The tournament’s first round begins Thursday.
Some early birds have already encountered one of the 10 roadblocks, some manned by police officers, in the neighborhoods.
Even some area residents, who have dealt with the annual crush of traffic for years, said they didn’t expect the sudden show of force on their streets.
“It’s kind of a pain,” said Chuck Berend, who lives at Rogers and Avondale avenues, just up a hilly, winding road from Colonial’s main entrance and No. 4 tee box.
Berend said he normally uses Rogers Avenue to get to and from his home, but for the rest of the week, he will be diverted to nearby University Drive.
A police officer is stopping motorists on Colonial Parkway and not allowing them to proceed to Rogers Avenue — or any other streets west of the checkpoint — without a golf tournament credential.
Another officer is stationed at Rogers and Avondale to ensure that motorists don’t try to go northbound down the hill on Rogers. The street has been converted to southbound-only for the week.
“I don’t have a pass to get into my own neighborhood,” Berend said, quickly adding that he understands it’s only a minor weeklong inconvenience.
He said that although many area residents learned of the new plan through the country club, others were in the dark until city crews arrived with temporary barricades. He said some residents may propose changes for next year.
“We’re planning to get together after the Colonial and maybe organize,” he said.
Other barricades include one at Rogers Avenue just north of the Trinity River, near a new Frost Park that will be set up and will offer concerts and other free fan activities. Others are near Stadium Drive, Boyd Avenue, Manchester Street, Simondale Drive, Lynncrest Drive, Mockingbird Lane and West Cantey Street.
Tournament officials said that disruptions should be minimal and that residents of the barricaded streets are generally being given windshield credentials to get through.
The new traffic plan will result in a more orderly flow of automobiles, pedestrians, and firetrucks, police cars and other emergency vehicles that might need access, said Dennis Roberson, tournament manager.
“This will create a much better safety situation and an emergency vehicle situation,” Roberson said. He said the barricades will be in effect from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. through Sunday.
For spectators trying to get to the Crowne Plaza Invitational with as few hassles as possible, city and tournament officials recommend parking at one of two lots — Farrington Field or TCU’s Amon Carter Stadium. The fee is $10, and shuttles will constantly flow to and from the golf course. Fans may find Farrington Field more convenient because Amon Carter Stadium has limited spots and will likely fill up fast.
Also, Cadillac owners may park for free on the west end of Amon Carter Stadium, accessible from North Bellaire Drive, in an area known as the Cadillac Lot. Drivers of non-Cadillacs may park there, but the cost is $40 per day.
“Just stay off University and take advantage of the air-conditioned shuttles,” Roberson said.
If the weather is nice Sunday, 35,000 to 40,000 people could be on hand to see the champion crowned, he said.