AUSTIN (KXAN) — With so many additional closures, driving around downtown Austin just became that much harder. Many exit ramps into downtown will be closed through Sunday.
Some Austinties say with all the extra traffic, public transportation is the only way they can get to work on time.
During South by Southwest, traffic jams are not unusual. But for those who live here, trying to get to and from work can be even more frustrating than usual.
“I drove to work Monday and I think it took me an hour and a half to get home,” said Shermayne Crawford. She decided she would be using MetroRail for the rest of the week.
“It’s worth taking it. It moves fast,” Crawford said. “It’s a little packed this week but overall I’ve been able to get a seat and enjoy myself on my way to work.”
Several ramps off Interstate 35 in the downtown area will be closed for the remainder of the week. Austin’s Transportation Department says the closures are necessary to keep the thousands of people walking around downtown safe.
“We want to help them understand and make it safe for them to cross major roadways,” said Gordon Derr with the Austin Transportation Department says. “We’re doing everything we can to move traffic out of areas where the biggest conflicts are.”
At the City of Austin’s special events command center, officials from transportation departments, the Austin Police Department and Homeland Security keep an eye on traffic using cameras on top of major buildings.
“We’re constantly watching where the traffic’s backing up and what can we do to keep traffic moving along,” Derr said.
“The amount of time you’d save without weaving in and out of traffic down here, find a parking space, not to mention if you have to pay for parking…you’re definitely saving money,” Josh Shimberg said of taking public transportation. He was attending SXSW with his 5-year-old son.