ACL Reminders from Parks Department

Lots of good info here!

The Austin Parks and Recreation Department welcomes visitors to the 2017 Austin City Limits Music Festival, hosted by C3 Presents, October 6-8, and October 13-15, 2017. The 16th anniversary of the ACL Music Festival takes place on a 46-acre portion of Zilker Metropolitan Park, the crown jewel of Austin’s public green spaces.

The northern portion of Zilker Metropolitan Park, known to Austinites as the Great Lawn, will close September 25 through October 27, for the festival. This includes 11 days of festival set up, two event weekends, a week to remove staging and typically at least one week for the annual Parks and Recreation Department’s post-event maintenance, dependent upon weather conditions.

Citywide and Festival Attendee Reminders

Festival Attendees

There is NO parking at the park, and extensive restricted parking areas in outlying areas. Festival attendees should not drive to the park instead seek alternative modes of transportation.
Per City Code a $250 violation fine is in effect for parking in a designated “no parking” area in Zilker Park.
Official festival Shuttles from Republic Square Park to the festival are FREE and have a dedicated entrance into the event.
Bike parking is available at the park.
For information on Austin City Limits Music Festival street closures, affected area maps, shuttle routes, and parking and transportation options, please visit:

Zilker Park Access

Most of Zilker Metropolitan Park will be accessible prior to the festival, and between event weekends.
Zilker Polo Field, Zilker Playscape, Barton Springs Pool, Zilker Botanical Garden and Austin Nature and Science Center.
All of Zilker Metropolitan Park and the Zilker Botanical Gardens will be closed to the public during the six festival days only.
Barton Springs Pool- will be open via the Southgate Parking Lot, during the festival weekends and is reserved for pool users only.
Access to Barton Springs Pool will be via Barton Hills Drive, Rabb Road or Bluebonnet Road to Robert E. Lee.
There is NO ACCESS to the Southgate parking lot using Barton Springs Road and Robert E. Lee on event days.
ADA pool parking is available in the Barton Springs Pool-Southgate Parking Lot, or first-come first-served on the north side via the northbound MoPac frontage at Andrew Zilker Road. Proper ADA tags must be displayed prior to approaching the area.
View our interactive map to plan your trip.

Alternative Park Use Areas

During the festival period, Vic Mathias Auditorium Shores east lawn, middle lawn, and off leash area will be open for public use.
Butler Park will remain open for public use.
View a directory of the City of Austin parks for additional options.

Parking and Traffic:

Barton Springs Road closures will be implemented to help reduce the number of vehicles impacting and causing safety concerns for pedestrian foot traffic.
Barton Springs Road will be open to local access only for residents, business staff and patrons, and festival attendees from Lamar to Sterzing.
All non-local traffic will be directed one way out of the area at Sterzing to Toomey and Toomey to Lamar.
There is NO vehicular ACCESS further west from Sterzing to Robert E. Lee.
Public safety personnel will be routinely patrolling, ticketing and towing in the affected areas around the park on event days.
Per City Code a $250 violation fine is in effect for parking in a designated “no parking” area in Zilker Park.

Approved Drop-off Areas

The following areas have been identified and approved for pickups and drop offs on event days:
Sterzing Street between Barton Springs and Toomey Road.
Stephen F. Austin Drive under MoPac Bridge.
Lee Barton Drive between Lamar Boulevard and Riverside Drive.
Citations will be actively issued to transportation networking companies, and other drop offs in unapproved areas.

Road Closures

During event days (October 6-8 and October 13-15) the following road closures are in effect:
Street closures will begin at 12:01am Friday through early Monday morning on each of the festival weekends.
Barton Springs Road from Sterzing Street to Rollingwood Drive.
Stratford Drive from Barton Springs Road to Nature Center Trail.
Barton Springs Road from Robert E. Lee to Mopac.
Robert E. Lee at Barton Hills Drive (12pm-12am)
Sterzing at Barton Springs Road
Motorists should expect delays around the Zilker Park/Barton Springs Road area and throughout downtown. Commuters should expect higher volume of traffic in the general park area during the overall festival period.
For a complete list of road closures, visit
For safety during load-in Stratford Drive will be closed on selected days. To view the details visit:

Health and Safety Reminders:

The festival is a smoke and vape free event site and patrons may only smoke outside the event grounds.
Know your location, where you enter the festival, and plan ahead to get home. Use the free official festival shuttle from Republic Square Park to ensure a quick and safe ride to and from downtown.
Wear comfortable shoes, clothing, and bring personal protective items such as hats and sunglasses.
Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated, there are water filling stations throughout the festival.
Apply gel or lotion based sunscreen and insect repellent (non-aerosol type).
Read all of the festival information/FAQs.
In an effort to safeguard the safety and quality of life of Austin residents, the Public Assembly Code Enforcement (PACE) team will be checking that all vendors, merchants and property owners are in compliance with municipal safety codes, including having the required permits during the festival. PACE will canvass the routes leading to Zilker Park on October 6-8 and October 13-15, 2017. Those found operating without proper permits will be required to close down their operation for the remainder of the event.

Newly approved fines for parking on parkland during special events and illegal vending on parkland will be in effect. For information on the fines please visit our website.

I’m new to this forum but have lived in the neighborhood for 6yrs. Last year a new issue came up with certain road closures during ACL that prevented me from driving home between 9p-midnight 6 nights last year. I’m almost certain the same closures are planned for this year.

I was dismayed to discover (the hard way) that even with my ID as proof of residency, I was blocked from driving onto my property one evening during ACL. Turns out, I’m not allowed to drive my car onto my own street EVERY night of ACL. And since there was no available parking nearby, it really left me in a bind. For starters, I’m a writer who was on a tight deadline (one which I missed, the next day). I also have a 2nd job that sometimes keeps me from getting home till 10p. Last year, on this night in Oct., I took my elderly parents to dinner, then drove home to my apartment (Cole, on South Lamar & Toomey Rd) around 9:45pm. Traffic is always nuts during the festival, but that didn’t bother me. What did bother me, was that the only 2 entrances to my building’s parking garage were inaccessible. Three of the 4 streets that border my building were blockaded. The one exposed side has no entrance at all. There may as well have been a moat around my building for 3 hours every night of ACL!

I spoke to 3 cops that night. One guarding Toomey Rd (at Lamar), one on Butler (at Lamar), and one on Josephine (at Barton Springs Rd). All 3 cops wholeheartedly agreed with me that the closures made no sense. Certainly there was no reason to block a resident with a valid ID proving she lived there! The entrance to my building was literally 10 yards from where I spoke to the first cop, on Lamar (as I tried to turn west on Toomey). There was not one pedestrian on Toomey right then, and no safety issue whatsoever, yet he refused to step aside and let me drive 10 yards west into my garage. It was maddening.

Barton Place condos are down that same street, as are the Zilker on the Park condos. Meaning hundreds of residents on my street cannot drive home between 9pm-midnight, six nights every year. To me, this is just absurd and unfair. Am I alone here? Did anyone else come up against this and does it seem like a massive and unnecessary overreach by the city?

I don’t mind most of the inconveniences of ACL, but I do believe I have a right to go home at the end of the day, without having to park my car a mile away and walk home in high heels (or in walking shoes, for that matter). Based on the exorbitant rent I pay (for that flimsy paper mâché-built apartment), I feel like I should have access to it every night of the year. Am I crazy? :slight_smile: More importantly, is there anything I can do??

Hi KC,

From your description, it sounds like the Jessie St entrance was open…?

Have you discussed it with your apartment management?


KC wrote:

No, Jesse Street was totally inaccessible. That street is 2 blocks long, from Toomey to Barton Springs Rd., and since Barton Springs Rd is closed all the way to Lamar, I couldn’t access Jesse from either end (or its Butler mid-point). My leasing manager was literally less help than I thought humanly possible, and when I finally requested contact info for her higher-ups she ceased correspondence altogether. Cole has basically rolled over without a peep, much less a fight. (Past mgt was much better but the newish staff does nothing but throw parties & happy hours like some kind of college co-op/frat house. They’re young, ineffective, and about as skilled with property mgt as teenage burger flippers.)

I’d very much like to hear from residents and owners of Barton Place and Zilker on the Park condos. Are there any on this forum? And if so, what are their thoughts &/or experiences with this situation?


I’ve reached out to our contacts at PARD to see if they can shed some light on this situation. That definitely sounds frustrating and I haven’t heard of the police not allowing someone into their place of residence for any event. I’ll post back here as soon as I heard back.



KC wrote:

Also, just to make sure there’s not something else at issue here, were you displaying any kind of “ride-sharing” logos on your vehicle, such as an Uber or Lyft, or other service?



Would you mind sending me your contact info to pass along to Jason Maurer from PARD? Email or phone is below…

Jimmy McArthur


I live at Barton Place and for the last 2 years or so Toomey has been one way. Last year, our HOA worked with PARD, C3 and AISD to try out car window signage for those of us that have garage access off of Toomey. In addition to special signage, the officers manning the street were also notified of the special resident access signage. Last year, I personally attended the pre-ACL meeting hosted by the above folks, and it’s my understanding that all of the complexes on Toomey were invited to attend. I recall reps from all locations except from the Cole.

Thank you, I’ll email or call you later today. I called Ann Kitchen’s office this week and someone from there reached out to me yesterday. We’re supposed to talk today as well (I’ll contact you directly afterward)!

No, I don’t do any ride sharing work or have any such signage on my car.

Wow, this is what I’ve been wondering about and asking about all along! Very interesting, as this is part of my larger frustration. Someone from Cole absolutely should’ve been there and it’s simply a blatant shirking of duties they weren’t. I appreciate you filling me in.

So, to be sure I understand correctly …you were able to drive west on Toomey from Lamar, and access Barton Place’s garage during the 9-midnight closure? Because the cop I spoke to at that specific blockade never mentioned anything about special signage for Toomey Road access, nor asked why I didn’t have it (or suggest I look into it). He was, in fact, sympathetic to my plight and made clear his complete agreement with me about the absurdity of the orders he was being forced to follow. I peppered all 3 cops with questions from every angle, and specifically asked if there were any exceptions to this policy. I specifically asked at least one of them if any other residents inside the blocked area (the 3 aforementioned complexes) had tried to pass (assuming they would be as outraged or gobsmacked as I was). I don’t recall his specific answer, only that he reiterated no one was allowed to pass, without exception.

May I ask about this pre-ACL meeting? Was a reason given for the blockade, in the first place? If a “safety” issue, was that explained or justified in any way? Did anyone there question or debate this policy? Did anyone question why picture IDs weren’t acceptable proof of residency? I saw a news clip of Alyssa-something from KXAN interviewing a resident of Barton Hills (something during that week, I think) about neighborhood frustrations during ACL and he’d replied something to the effect of “…frustrating, but at least all I have to do is show ID to get into my neighborhood.” So I don’t see why it would be more complicated for Toomey Rd access than Barton Hills.

Did you get a special sign for your car? Where did you get it and what did it look like? When I asked Cole’s leasing manager if they’d been notified beforehand or given the option to discuss this ridiculous policy beforehand, she stopped replying to me.

The street closure maps I’ve found online (from the city site and ACL site) state that ALL traffic is blocked BOTH ways between 9p-midnight ALL 6 nights. The maps are drawn in such a way, it’s not immediately clear (which I now suspect was by design), but do state in various ways that residents are no exception. I shall take this up with the Cole staff today. If you have a copy of the notification for that meeting you attended, I’d greatly appreciate seeing it. I can post the 2 maps I’ve found showing 2017 nightly closures.

Also, sorry for not replying to everyone in a single post (I’m seeing a ‘tip’ pop up right now to that effect and will use that method in the future).

The reason for the closure is because of the wall of foot traffic coming from the festival during that time.

Jimmy McArthur


Ostensibly, and yet all 3 cops stated that was NOT actually an issue.

First of all, at 9:45pm when I arrived home that night, not one single person was on Toomey Road. Not one!

AND if that safety issue truly was the impetus for the closure, why were Barton Hills residents allowed to show ID to access their neighborhoods?? Barton Springs Road WAS in fact “a wall of foot traffic” while Toomey Road was ghost town. Lamar Blvd was crawling with foot traffic, and yet that road was not closed either.

Toomey Road is roughly 3 blocks long. If foot traffic were truly the reason, they could still close 2.5 blocks of it, and open up the 30 feet of space between Lamar and the entrance to Cole’s garage for Cole residents. There is literally NO logical, fair reason I should not be able to drive my car 10mph for 30 feet into the garage for which my $2k/monthly rent (supposedly) ensures access.

This is a valid point. And one of the points friends of zilker made. There is a lot of noise and hysteria which causes an over reaction by the city and an even worse experience for the residence. This then creates a cycle of frustration and more frustration with more complaints. It’s good to hear your perspective - thank you for sharing. Hopefully we can put together another pre-ACL meeting this year as well.

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Agreed, and thank you. Please keep me posted on any meetings you plan or hear about.

I spoke with Ann Kitchen’s office, who is doing their best to make headway on a couple fronts (placards, etc.). I will update here if you or anyone would like more info as I get it.


Let me clarify. The westbound Toomey travel was allowed only for residents of the street that received a special pass (limited #s) from their property managers. It was for the daytime hours, not 9-12 when the masses of people leave ACL. Barton Springs is closed (up to S Lamar) in both directions. Those parked on Toomey used to be able to exit eastbound (at Lamar light) if they could get through the throngs of people, maybe that changed. This traffic plan has been in place for the last ~2 years and is by far THE BEST in my 8 years of living here since you can at least get out of your house during the day. Those of us that live here have learned you have 3 options. 1) go to the festival, 2) vacation during the festival, or 3) stay home during the festival (or limit driving to daytime hours. I agree that it’s frustrating, especially when the event moved to 2 weekends. The City, C3 and APD have been pretty good at working with the properties in the area and I would think they will continue to do so. I’d suggest you gather feedback from Cole residents and implore your management company attend meetings so they understand and can communicate the plan in advance to residents. I’m happy to discuss further but let’s take it offline so as not to fill up everyone’s inbox.

Thanks, Kristin

I appreciate the clarification. I’ve had offline discussions with the city and Cole today. It does seem as if my property manager dropped the ball (or ten) here. That said, so did the city.

Regardless, I won’t fill up anyone’s inbox further. I would like to say “frustrating” is not the most accurate word choice in my case.

I work 7days/week, 52 weeks a year. I don’t have the luxury of going to the festival OR vacationing at that time. Good for you for having that privilege. Might be something to keep in mind that such privilege is not universal. When I work nights or travel for work, I often get home 9 or 10pm. Sometimes with 1-2 large suitcases and a writing deadline hanging over my head. Always exhausted. And ALWAYS with the desire (and quite frankly a RIGHT) to drive into my garage 30 feet from Lamar.