Monday, June 15, 2009

Open? Not Necessarily!

It is U.S. Open Week here in Farmingdale and the area is inundated with golf players and golf fans. Being neither, this event is nothing more than an inconvenience to me.

When does 600 feet equal two miles? This week. In order to accommodate the crowds, a portion -- all of two hundred yards, actually -- of Round Swamp Road has been closed to traffic through Sunday. As a result, anyone who normally uses the route -- yours truly included -- has to go two miles out of the way to get around it. You can stand at one end of the closed portion of the road and see the other, but, as they say, "You can't get there from here."

The Farmingdalers who live near to the golf course are faced with closed streets, temporary "no parking" rules in front of their homes, and a stream of cars on their normally quiet blocks with drivers in search of a place to leave the vehicles. I'll bet more than a couple of these residents will pick up some money renting out their driveways.

Perhaps the biggest inconvenience is for the commuters who take the Long Island Railroad. Parking at the Farmingdale station has always been a problem (despite the fact that an annual parking pass costs $300). Yesterday, one of the two parking lots was closed and filled with tents to accommodate the golf fans who will be arriving by train and taking shuttle buses over to the course. Commuters were further advised that on Thursday and Friday a large portion of the other lot will also be inaccessible. The solution? Commuters have been given special permission to park in the village lots behind the Main Street stores, six, eight and ten blocks away. One then wonders where the people who normally use those lots will be putting their cars.

Finally, nearly Farmingdale State College, where Laurie teaches, has shut all but one of its gates "to discourage golf enthusiasts from parking on the campus" and have issued special parking permits for students, faculty and staff. As summer classes are in session, this will no doubt create yet another traffic problem as campus security has to check each car coming in as well as deal with those legitimate folks who forgot or did not receive the special permit.

So this may be the U.S. Open, but it could also be called the "Farmingdale Closed."

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