Better get ready for major downtown disruptions this weekend. First up the 4th Annual BatFest shuts South 1st Bridge all day Saturday, overnight and all day Sunday. Of course Saturday p.m., is the UT Football Game. This is something I have yet to experience, but given it’s the first game of the season, and with the newly expanded stadium(some 92,000 seats), roads will be closed and very busy in and around the Stadium, both east and west of I35.
Sometime Sunday probably well before 6.30p.m., Congress and a number of surrounding roads will close for the Human Race Nike 10k. You can see a route map here. It’s worth noting though that it’s not just a race. There will be a large number of entrants, and after the race their is a concert up by the Capital building at 8.30pm with Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals. All the run participants get free entry, you can also pay separately. So some roads will remain closed until late. The Nike 10k organizers have gone the whole hog. Not only are they providing a bag drop for a change of clothing after the race, but they are also providing a bike valet and compound service, I’ll be cycling down.
Meanwhile, just a few blocks East at Waterloo Park will be the KVET Party in the Park(*). at the same time. Starting at 12pm, roads around the park will be closed or have restricted access.
So that takes care of Saturday and Sunday.
Monday, starting very early (I know I’m volunteering and have been asked to show up at 4.30a.m.), more roads will be closed for the Austin Triathlon. Amongst the roads closed Monday morning will be Congress from the Capital, across the bridge to South Congress and Mary; Caesar Chavez from Congress to Austin High under Mopac, I assume both directions; South 1st Bridge, Riverside Dr from Barton Springs down to S Lamar, also Lee Barton Drive along the pitch and putt Golf Course.
I’m sure they’ll be more events than that, but those are the ones I know about. You could look at this as a major inconvenience, or you could take it as a great opportunity to walk or bike downtown. The 2nd St District shops will be open, you’ll have to wait to cross a few roads, but otherwise it should be car free.
Which brings me around to the Austin City Council Task Force on Street and Event Road Closures. Monday saw the latest meeting of the task force. Unlike the prior meeting which was packed to the gills with athletes, this time there were only about eight members of the public. After hearing from four of us the task force got on with it’s business. By the end of the session, a sense of urgency and organization had taken over from the fact-finding and discovery phase. If the task force is to produce anything meaningful, they’ll have to get going. They’ve agreed to meet weekly starting September 8th, organized around an agreed set of agenda items. As always, they’ll take the first 10-speakers from the public to register on the day.
If you didn’t get to speak previously and have any constructive suggestions, as opposed to testimonial on how this event, or that event changed your life, why not come along and speak. Make some notes, even feel free to read your speech, you get just 3-minutes though. What’s clear from this weekends event and road closures is that some coordination is needed, along with a much better, more coordinated road closure and alternative route scheme.
(*) Party in the Park organizers are going to have their hands full if their what to bring/what not to bring list is to be take seriously and enforced. Cell Phones and iPods that don’t have voice recorders won’t be allowed, nor will digital still cameras that also take videos. Also, what’s a laptop these days compared to some of the latest PDA’s and iPhones? Why differentiate? What’s the point of making rules that you can’t or won’t keep??