The past few weeks have seen major changes in downtown Austin parking. First, it was announced that the City of Austin will waive parking ticket fees if vehicle owners prove they took a responsible alternative home (i.e. a bus or taxi). A few days later, the Austin Police Department announced that parking on East Sixth Street would no longer be allowed from Thursday evening through Sunday during peak hours. This morning, the City confirmed yet another new policy: No more weekend towing from the parking lot under I-35.
Public Information and Marketing Manager Samantha Alexander for the City of Austin Transportation Department confirmed that beginning this weekend, vehicles in the parking lot between the I-35 frontage roads that runs from East Sixth to East Eighth streets will no longer be towed during the early morning hours.
The lot, which is owned by TxDOT, previously removed all vehicles between 3 am and 5 am for cleaning. Last week, the ATX Safer Streets team reached out to the Austin Parking Enterprise Manager Steve Grassfield to inquire about overnight rules for the parking area. The City, which manages maintenance for the lot, then negotiated with TxDOT to stop weekend cleaning, thus allowing Austinites to feel comfortable enough leaving their cars and finding alternative ways to get home if they've been drinking.
"Both of our teams collaborated and agreed that forgoing the routine cleanings on Friday and Saturday nights would be beneficial to our community to provide another weekend overnight parking option for downtown visitors," explained Alexander in statement.
"We are elated by the news today," said ATX Safer Streets Founder Sara LeVine. "It tells us that the City is getting serious about the safety of its citizens and tourists and it shows us that our voices do have the power to change Austin for the better."
Currently, the fee is $7 to park overnight Monday through Thursday, $8 to park overnight Friday and Saturday and free on Sunday. Parking meters are enforced from 7 pm - 3 am. It is important to remember that cars left overnight Sunday through Friday morning are still subject to towing.
For a full, updated list of parking rules and regulations, as well as alternative transportation options, visit the City of Austin's Get Home Safe website.