APD prepares for Texas Relay crowds - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

APD prepares for Texas Relay crowds

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Surveillance video from last year's Texas Relays show a really scary looking stampede in the entertainment district.

Austin Assistant Police Chief Raul Munguia says Austin just has a problem with stampedes.

But they've got a plan in place that has done pretty well in previous years and he hopes this year it will work too -- putting water barricades up in the intersections in a diamond formation.

"That way as the crowd is running, the diamond formation actually splits the crowd in half and funnels them out onto the side roads," Munguia said.

Traffic is a big problem too. He says on the highways, out-of-towners for whatever reason tend to do what's called "snaking" which means they swerve from one side of the highway to the other.

So he says be on the lookout for that because it's considered reckless driving.

"For someone that's stopped for that, they are subject to arrest and impoundment of their vehicle," Munguia said.

He says fortunately much of the crowd here this weekend is too young to drink.

So even though Sixth Street is crowded, he says the arrest numbers are not very high.

Jey Ditta, owner of "Bat Bar" is ready for his athletic guests over 21.

But some other bars on the street just close their doors.

"There's several reasons why but mainly the reason is fire marshals. It's very, very difficult to have that many people all shoved in at once, all wanting to party, have their good time and it's really hard to...your exit doors. And most of the time, the guys...these busy hours, they just shut their doors and wait for the next day," Ditta said.

Ditta says they add a cover charge. That way it keeps people from continuously going in and out.

Otherwise "Bat Bar" is ready.

"It's new people, it's new faces and ultimately it's financial. There's 120,000 kids that are eager to celebrate their victories, come to the bar and drink. And that's what we're in the business for...providing entertainment," Ditta said.

Of course, Austin Police says they will have officers out in force for security purposes and to help with any traffic issues.

Drivers trying to get downtown are encouraged to use MoPac instead of 35, Congress, Martin Luther King, Guadalupe or Lamar.

Here are the street closures from the City of Austin's website:

5th and 6th streets from the East Frontage road of IH-35 to San Marcos Street South bound IH-35 exit ramps at 8th -6th Street and Cesar Chavez Street North Bound 6th Street exit ramp will be closed 6th Street , between the East Frontage road of IH-35 and San Marcos Street Brushy Street , between 5th and 7th Streets.

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