City could limit public parking for ACL, other big events

AUSTIN (KXAN) — On Thursday, the Austin City Council will consider a resolution that could allow the city to slap temporary parking restrictions on any neighborhood across the city.

Some neighborhoods in Austin tend to get packed with cars during big events. During Austin City Limits Music Festival, cars line the streets in the Zilker neighborhood. City Councilman Chris Riley is proposing a resolution he thinks could help alleviate the problems residents face.

“The street is definitely filled with a lot of cars, and you’ll see cops patrolling up and down,” said Zilker resident Andrew Johnson. “People walk all over the street just to get down there.”

The ordinance would make it so neighborhoods like Zilker could be residential-only parking, during the respective event. The proposal also suggests temporary residential parking permits could be considered in the East Cesar Chavez neighborhood. Those streets fill up with visitors’ cars for events downtown.

Riley proposed this measure also could work for areas near ongoing construction.

KXAN talked with people living in the Zilker about how they would feel about temporary permits. Some weren’t sure imposing temporary permitted parking would be fair.

“I don’t really necessarily like that they’ll be parking on my street,” said Johnson. “But I mean, what are you going to do? You’ve got to go to the festival, and if I was going to the festival, I’d need a place to park.”

Other people living in the Zilker neighborhood told KXAN they would be okay with or without the temporary residential permits.

“We experience, you know, some difficulty with the crowds, but we want the culture to continue,” said Zilker resident Juan Miranda. “We’re really open for either/or.”

Miranda said so long as visitors are respectful of the neighborhood, the extra cars and traffic isn’t so bad.

“If the people that come in are just careful with the kids that are in the neighborhood, and obviously a lot of pets, that we love–but I’m really not for or against,” Miranda said.

Others like the idea of at least some type of more parking regulations. Alice Gilroy says one thing she’d like the city to consider is perhaps only allowing parking on one side of the street, but not totally prohibiting public parking.

“Ambulances, fire trucks–things like that; it prohibits them from being able to make their way down here,” Gilroy said.

John Turpin says he would not like to see the temporary residential-only parking. He says since ACL is just two weekends out of the year, it’s not too bad. He referenced the side streets off of South Congress as an area of Austin where he thinks residential-only parking is appropriate–and those streets have the permanent signs.

“To me, it makes more sense when it’s around a business, and there’s constant traffic in that neighborhood,” Turpin said. “I think it’s kind of a different thing when it’s an invasion all the time and you can’t park on your street and friends can’t come over and things like that.”

If City Council approves the measure Thursday, for now, it just means the city would work with stakeholders to determine if temporary parking restrictions are a popular idea. Any changes to parking restrictions would still need further approval.

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