The big to-do in Philadelphia this week is the 2013 US Open, back at the Merion Golf Club for the first time since 1981. The Main Line neighborhoods are thoroughly disrupted, with Ardmore Ave., Haverford Road, and College Ave. all completely closed to traffic, and hordes of spectators descending on any real estate available for hire (including, for the official hospitality and media structures, much of the Haverford College campus). SEPTA is expecting crowding on the NHSL and Paoli lines usually only seen during the Flower Show or similar events, only instead of having the throughput of Market East Station and Center City to work with, the destinations are Ardmore Ave. on the NHSL, and Rosemont on the Paoli Line. Ardmore Ave., the preferred alternative right on the doorstep of the Merion Golf Club, has seen a major renovation in preparation for the expected crowds, including a platform lengthening to accommodate two two-car trains in the station at the same time. Rosemont station is a staging point for shuttle buses connecting Paoli Line riders, and extra trains will be added to the schedule later this week.
Unfortunately, this big party has already hit a snag in its first day: the weather. We’ve seen a lot of rain in the last four days, and the ground is saturated. Not only are the US Open officials preparing backup plans in case the 11th, 12th, and 4th greens get flooded out, SEPTA is having stormwater management problems of its own, diverting passengers from Ardmore Ave. to Haverford stations due to flooding. Not exactly the best foot forward, but the rain is not under the control of either SEPTA or the USPGA. I’ll be keeping an eye out for further rainouts, both SEPTA- and golf-related, but for real-time updates, the best bet is still SEPTA’s Twitter stream.