Local News

Pinehurst Hopes U.S. Open Parking Ban Will Not Put Sales In Rough

Posted May 3, 2005 1:07 a.m. EDT

— Shop owners in Pinehurst hope fans will pouring in the green for the upcoming U.S. Open.

With an expected 45,000 people, traffic and parking would easily clog up the narrow village streets. The village council will ban parking on 24 streets during the week of the tournament from June 12 to June 20.

Just like during the 1999 U.S. Open, a free shuttle service will transport visitors to and from parking lots located about five miles from the village.

"It worked so well in 1999 that we decided not to mess with perfection, so we'll do it again," village manager Andrew Wilkison said.

For Tom Stewart, 1999 was perfect. The former golf pro turned shop owner pulled in two months of business in one week.

"Pinehurst is such a great place to hold a big event because being a village, it's like the whole world comes together in one small place," he said.

Some business owners said the village's parking restrictions put a chokehold on retail businesses. Business owners said even with the free shuttle service, people do not have enough time to hang around the village and spend money.

Some retailers said the last time the U.S. Open came to Pinehurst, the parking ban put sales in the rough. This time, they are hoping for a better balance between lighter traffic and heavier business.

The village council also voted to ban anyone from charging people to park or store vehicles unless previously approved. A violation would result in a $500 fine a day.