Navigating the COCO: Traffic control, where to park

Beresford Creek Bridge out until end of April
Known as the largest women’s-only tennis tournament in North America, the Credit One Charleston Open brings fans flocking to Daniel Island, where attendees will not only meet world-class tennis players, but traffic congestion as well. 
With each passing year, the popularity of the tournament surges, bringing with it a surge of traffic around the island. 
Event organizers are making proactive efforts to ease visitors’ concerns.
This year, compounded by the closure of the Beresford Creek Bridge, transportation logistics are at the forefront of planning efforts.
Bryan Richard, the director of facility services and special projects for the Charleston Open, shed light on the evolving traffic dynamics surrounding the event. 
“As the island has grown, so too has our planning for traffic control on Daniel Island,” he said. “We knew that to help make things operate more efficiently... we had to learn to operate without closing Seven Farms Drive in front of the stadium.”
To mitigate increased traffic, television operations for the tournament have been reconfigured to fit within the property, allowing Seven Farms Drive to remain open.
Shuttle bus operations have also been fine-tuned to ensure the safe movement of patrons while keeping roads accessible.
“By doing this, we feel it has had a positive impact on the island’s traffic – almost no different than a normal day of traffic on the island,” Richard said. “We’ve also partnered with Blackbaud and Benefitfocus, which has provided us safe, lit, paved, and marked spaces for our growing event.”
The Beresford Creek Bridge is still closed for construction, which shuts down one entrance and exit point to and from Daniel Island.
According to Deja McMillan, the city of Charleston’s director of communications, the bridge is still set to be complete in April, but not until after the COCO tournament is over.
“A specific date has not been set in stone yet,” McMillan said, “However, the project is still on schedule. I believe it is set to open at the end of April.” 
Despite Interstate 526 being the only entry and exit point for the event, Richard said the Beresford Creek Bridge closure shouldn’t concern COCO attendees. Unlike concerts where attendees leave all at once, tennis event attendees exit sporadically throughout the day or evening, he said. 
“We will increase signage to lead people to I-526, but again, with the nature of how tennis fans enter and exit, we do not anticipate extra congestion.” 
To manage traffic, COCO organizers work with the Charleston police, the event’s parking operations team, and its shuttle bus operators. Guests will have strategic points of entry with easy-to-follow signs. 
Major intersections, including Island Park Drive, River Landing Drive, and Seven Farms Drive, will be monitored by police, who will direct traffic and alleviate any congestion. 
Parking arrangements for attendees of the Charleston Open are carefully organized to help ensure a smooth and efficient experience.
Richard outlined the various options available, including designated parking lots that require pre-distributed parking passes (at Governors Park and beneath the I-526 overpass) along with valet services, which are pre-sold but may be available day-of at the valet entry point.
For general spectators, parking is directed to Blackbaud on Fairchild Street, with overflow parking and evening matches directed to Benefitfocus, also on Fairchild Street. 
“This works well as it keeps most spectators away from the busier parts of Daniel Island, and for the patrons that receive the parking passes, they generally come every day of the event and know exactly where to go,” Richard said.
The facility services director also shared a tip: fans who attend multiple sessions and have parking lot passes, generally arrive earlier than single session spectators, which means there’s not a large rush of traffic. 
With that said, the tournament’s busiest time for spectator parking is between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m.    
For those with physical limitations, handicap accessible parking is provided, with spaces reserved for vehicles requiring specialized access. A dedicated handicap accessible shuttle bus, equipped with a lift, operates from the spectator parking lot, to ensure all attendees can access the event comfortably.
COCO organizers encourage attendees to carpool and use alternative transportation options, such as Uber and Lyft, which will have accessible pick-up and drop-off points on Seven Farms Drive. Guests coming from downtown Charleston are also encouraged to utilize the Daniel Island Ferry. 

Daniel Island Publishing

225 Seven Farms Drive
Unit 108
Daniel Island, SC 29492 

Office Number: 843-856-1999
Fax Number: 843-856-8555


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