Say goodbye to free parking on the north side of the Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail. “For me personally, I probably will be trying to look for other parking elsewhere if I have to pay,” said Austin native Lindsey Moore.
The City of Austin has already installed meters along Stephen F. Austin Drive, Veterans Drive and Atlanta Street, although there is no activation date scheduled yet. “People are just going to move further out and find other free places to park and it just moves congestion further out towards Westlake,” said Josh Oxendine, who frequently runs on the hike and bike trail.
Because Austin ISD owns Stephen F. Austin Drive, the district made the decision to add meters along that stretch of road. The Austin Transportation Department said the district asked for city parking meters on the property to prevent confusion.
The move is intended to relieve traffic congestion and improve student safety.
The funds generated will help pay for meter installation and parking enforcement, the rest will pay for campus maintenance and improvements at Austin High School.
“It's all going to the greater good, but doesn't mean it's easier on my pocket,” Oxendine said.
The Transportation Department expects meters by the high school to push free parking seekers to Veteran’s Drive and Atlanta Street, which is why the city installed meters on those roads as well, to ensure turnover. Meters there could help fund sidewalks, lighting and other mobility improvements.
“City of Austin's going to get the money and if that goes towards building new roads and fixing things, I think that's awesome,” said Moore. However, some who frequent the lake, worry the move will discourage locals from using the hike-and-bike trail and say the city should look to other means to generate money.
“I think that they're definitely getting enough income to where they shouldn't take money from their local community like that,” said Eliz Perez who has been visiting the trail for 13 years.
Once they are active, parking meters will be enforced from 8 am- 6 pm Monday-Friday.
Weekends will remain free.