City of Austin extends road closures during SXSW


Charlie Pearce

Sixth Street, along with 5th, 7th, and portions of Trinity and Red River, will be closed during SXSW in order to provide a safer environment for festival goers.

Matthew Hart

Road closures during the South By Southwest festival will make it more difficult than ever to nativate through the downtown gridlock. 

Security concerns have led event organizers to plan to close the roads for nine days, as opposed to last year’s four-day closure period. Event organizers are awaiting approval from Austin City Council before the requests can be administered.

Gordon Derr, assistant director of the Austin Transportation Department, said during the music portion of the festival, Sixth Street has previously been closed in the evening. Fifth, Seventh and parts of Red River and Trinity streets in front of the Austin Convention Center have also been closed off.

Derr said he feels extending the period of street closures is necessary. 

“It’s primarily because they now have more people registering for the interactive festival than they do music,” Derr said. “They just feel like it makes it safer to have these streets closed during the extended period.”

SXSW will take place from March 8-16, and the festival typically attracts people from across the country. 

David Little, Austin Community College student, said the traffic might be a problem with his daily commute to the city.

“I take the bus to the capital five days a week for an internship so I hope this doesn’t affect my commute,” Little said. “The bus is really my only way to get to work pretty much. I’m not too worried about it for now.”

Capital Metro spokeswoman Melissa Ayala said a final plan for SXSW transportation has yet to be determined but is currently being reviewed.

“We are working on a special service plan for SXSW,” Ayala said, “but we are still finalizing some details on that and we can expect to have some information on our website in the next couple of weeks.”

Printed on Tuesday, February 5, 2013 as: SXSW to bring longer closures