AUSTIN (KXAN) — Though new beginnings will be celebrated, crowd control will follow an old familiar blueprint for area New Year’s Eve festivities. Austin Police said street closures on NYE will be the same closures used for the usual weekend nights in the Sixth Street/downtown area.
One difference is temporary paper signs were taped to light posts warning drivers all cars must be cleared from the street side parking on Sixth. For the third straight year, Old School Bar and Grill plans on dropping a giant disco ball at midnight, much like the tradition in Times Square. Manager Travis Drake said opening up space on the road helps as more people safely watch the ball drop.
“Once upon a time, you could park down here,” he said. “It is just much safer to have the cars off the street.”
There will be more officers and resources working on NYE night, but the crowd control game plan will be very much the same.
Austin-Travis County EMS is also ready to maneuver through the crowds using bicycles and motorcycles for areas where ambulances cannot fit. The two-wheeled vehicles still carry first aid equipment, which allow paramedics to initially treat possible patients before determining if an ambulance is required.
“It is very handy in getting life support personnel to a patient as quickly as possible,” said Rick Rutledge with ATCEMS. “It saves time and, in our business, saving time could be saving lives.”