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Starting May 1, visitors to Zilker Park will have to pay $7 on weekends

Two parking lots near Zilker Park that were previously free will start charging $7 every weekend, effective May 1.

AUSTIN, Texas — One of the Austin's most popular parks will be increasing parking prices and start charging for parking in lots that were previously free starting May 1.

At Zilker Park, the parking lots that currently charge $5 for parking will be increased to $7 from May 1 through Labor Day.

The parking lot off of Stratford Road, just north of the Zilker Botanical Garden, and the South Barton Springs Pool parking lot, near Azie Morton Road, will start charging $7 on the weekends and holidays. 

Both of these parking lots were havens for visitors and residents alike, as they were free to park. Park visitors like P.K. Luangsingotha liked that parking was free at the lot off Stratford.

Luangsingotha said he is not happy that he will have to start paying to park.

"I believe people should be out enjoying the parks, the sunlight etcetera and not have to. I mean, the City is already making so much money as it [is] already. Now trying to tax people more on parking, I think it’s kind of unfair. Just my opinion," Luangsingotha said.

Hailey Adams, an Austin resident, also enjoys coming to Zilker with her dog and the free parking near Stratford. 

"Not a fan,” Adams said about the new changes.

Come May, Adams may adjust the activities she participates in at Zilker due to the cost of parking.

“I definitely want more of day activity, versus sometimes I come for 30 minutes," Adams said. 

The Austin Parks and Recreation Department said it hopes charging at the parking lots will help with traffic issues.

"Since we haven't had these spaces metered, there is less turnover in these areas, with Zilker is both residents and visitors. We do anticipate this will help with circulation in those two lots," Parks and Recreation Assistant Director Lucas Massie said.

Don Turnley, who comes to park often, said he is okay with paying $7 on the weekends if it helps alleviate traffic.

"What you see on the weekend, it’s just an onslaught of people," Turnley said.

Massie said funding from the parking lots will go toward safety initiatives like lighting and future electric vehicle stations.

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