Austin prepares for Formula 1 traffic, crowds


by JADE MINGUS / KVUE NEWS and Photojournalist JOHN FISHER

Bio | Email | Follow: @JadeM_KVUE

Posted on October 31, 2012 at 6:21 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 31 at 6:41 PM

AUSTIN -- The City of Austin is preparing for an influx of 300,000 Formula 1 visitors, which could make traffic congestion one of the event's biggest challenges.

"Not many cities could pull off that influx of people, especially given the infrastructure, and the infrastructure doesn't change overnight," said Hammans Stallings who lives and works in downtown.

In two weeks, race fans will crowd into the track in Elroy and cram into downtown for free festivals and big name concerts.

Capital Metro released a comprehensive plan to accommodate all the visitors. It includes a free bus loop downtown, a bus line that goes to the airport and back every 15 minutes, and extended MetroRail hours. Normal Capital Metro service will continue for riders who rely on public transportation.

"We're encouraging people to take the bus, walk, take your bike, do whatever you can, but try not to drive downtown during F1 weekend," said spokesperson for Capital Metro Francine Pares. 

Capital Metro also released a mobile app Wednesday to help riders map out their journey.

Other race fans are willing to pay for luxury. R&R Limousine and Bus is the official ground transportation for the Circuit of the Americas. Town cars are renting for $3,000 for three days and Hummers and limos are even higher than that.

"We're going to be bringing on 200 additional people for this event. For South by Southwest, we bring in 100 to 150 people, so this is an increase for a large event," said owner Paul Arcediano. 

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