An application has been submitted to shut down more than two dozen downtown Austin city blocks. The request is being made for two separate festivals that will kick off the F1 race week in November.
An Austin memory can easily be found and purchased in a 2nd St. store dedicated to everything Austin. Come November, a lot of the Hot Rock apparel on these racks will include a racing theme. The high speed wardrobe change, according to store co-owner Shelley Meyer, includes stocking more leather jackets and clothing designed for race week.
"Amongst my peers the buzz is huge it's going to be a really good financial traction for Austin and really an opportunity for Austin," said Meyer.
Meyer says twin downtown race festivals, November 16-18, are opportunities to build new relationships with a new group of travelers.
"This is the largest street closure that I know of that is amount of blocks that's continuously going to happen," said Meyer.
The application for the street closure plan describes how the city core can hold two separate festivals. Road closures would begin on Tuesday Nov. 13 so vendors can set up.
The "Experience Austin" event closes Congress Ave. from 7th Street to 11th Street, as well as wraps around the western side of the capitol. In the Warehouse District, the barricade grid for the "Austin Fan Fest" includes Congress Ave, Colorado Street, 4th Street, 3rd Street and part of 2nd Street.
For the past several months, a major public works project has disrupted business along Colorado St. Bar owner John Korioth hopes the festival will provide a much needed rebound.
"Traditionally November is not the greatest month in the bar and restaurant business in Austin and any kind of uptick and that many people coming to town should be a positive," said Korioth.
About nine surface parking lots will be taken over by the festivals. Managers at LAZ Parking say their commuters will be relocated into a nearby parking garage.
The combined festivals will have broad footprints similar to South-by-Southwest, with the flavor of Pecan Street and the volume of a high octane ROT Rally parade. It could be a headache for those who live and work in the closure zones, like Elena Grey.
"I think I'm going to be biking," said Grey.
Reportedly, promoters will have to pay about $20,000 in permit fees. Compensation for police security may also have to be made.
The plan includes a bus transit pick up and drop off area to and from the race track that loops around the Erwin Center and UMC Brackenridge.
Public comment about the street closure plan ends September 17. The application will then be reviewed by the urban transportation commission, with final approval up to the city council.
Click here to view the application.