Zilker-area residents prepare for festival fatigue

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by SHANNON MURRAY / KVUE NEWS and photojournalist MICHAEL MOORE

Bio | Email | Follow: @ShannonM_KVUE

kvue.com

Posted on October 3, 2013 at 5:19 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 3 at 5:40 PM

AUSTIN -- The Austin City Limits Music Festival kicks off Friday, but event coordinators are not the only ones getting ready for two big weekends. The fest also takes a toll on neighbors.

Living just a few blocks from Zilker Park comes with perks.

"Five minutes we're in downtown, walk to Zilker Park, Barton Springs pool. It's just the perfect location," said Zilker Neighborhood Association member David King.

King will be one of thousands enjoying the music at ACL, less than a mile from his home.

"I love the bands, and I think these kinds of events are great for Austin," King said.

After 20 years in the Zilker neighborhood, he says big events at the park are becoming more frequent. This year's ACL is two weekends instead of one.

"When you have them back-to-back and in longer duration, the impact does become different. It goes to a higher level of concern," King explained.

An estimated 75,000 people will attend the festival every day. Many will try and find parking in King's neighborhood.

"There are going to be wall-to-wall vehicles on both sides of the street," he said.

Temporary "no parking" signs are strategically placed throughout the neighborhood, and there's even a hotline for people to report problems.

"The residents can't get in or out. They're blocking their driveways," said Austin Police Commander William Manno.

Manno says planning for the 2013 festival started as soon as last year's wrapped.

"We look at what didn't work and what did work," he explained.

This year police will increase patrols around Zilker and Barton Springs Road.

"A lot of them will walk great distances to get to Zilker Park, so there are a lot of areas we need to make sure there is ample police presence to keep people safe," Manno said.

While King is excited to catch some good music so close to home, this year he's also preparing for a double dose of festival fatigue.

"You're going to have problems, and that's the other side of the coin," King explained.

Commander Manno recommends carpooling or taking the shuttle from Republic Park downtown. Austin police will tow or ticket anyone who parks illegally.

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