Weekend route to access Zilker Park parking lots has changed

Zilker Park staff is trying out a new idea to cut down on weekend traffic on Barton Springs Road.

"We've created a new traffic flow pattern hopefully to help the safety of the citizens of Austin," said Anthony Savage, Zilker Park grounds supervisor.

On weekends and holidays, drivers who used to enter the Zilker parking lot from Barton Springs Road will have to take the North Mopac access road to Columbus Drive instead. That way cars turning into the parking lot won't block a lane of traffic.

"The length of Columbus Drive we feel is much safer. We can have a very long line of cars, get them through our cashiers and bring them into the park safely," said Savage.

People at Zilker Park Sunday said they aren't sold on the plan.

"That's a terrible idea," said parkgoer Crystalle Battistoni. "Because then you get a ton of traffic that's just stuck on Barton Springs Road."

Savage said the new route is supposed to cut down on the backups on Barton Springs Road.

"Some of the citizens of Austin were getting concerned about the line of traffic it was creating. We thought it was a safety issue. We feel this will be the safest route," said Savage.

Several people who visit Zilker Park regularly said they have other ideas to make traffic flow more quickly.

"Let's just add some stoplights and more entrances to the park," said Battistoni.

"I think finding ways of having new entrances, there's always backways and I never understood why they never open up those backways," said Megan McAnelly who visited the park Sunday.

For the next few weekends, police officers and barricades will block access to the parking lot from Barton Springs Road.

The $5 fee to park at Zilker is in effect on weekends, holidays and during special events. That will run through the summer until Labor Day.