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New Sixth Street parking rules upsetting musicians

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There are new parking restrictions on Sixth Street: Now you can't park on Sixth Street between Red River and Brazos from Thursday night through Sunday night between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 3:00 a.m.

It's meant to prevent drunk drivers from plowing into crowds of people and many feel it's a good idea...others appreciate the thinking behind the new rules but they want the city to go back to the drawing board.

Austin band "The Street Kingz" play a lot of venues in town.  But the Street Kingz don't feel like 'Kingz' of this street!  They can't even park their cars there during gigs.

Drummer Jack Daniel longs for the good old days.

"I was able to park in the front and boom, boom, boom.  At the end of the gig, drive on off," he said.

Now, because of the new parking rules, anyone who parks on Sixth Street between 9 p.m. and 3 a.m. Thursday night through Sunday night may find their car has been towed when they get back to their parking spot.

"Don't have the musicians have to pay for parking somewhere and then have to haul equipment.  I have to hire somebody as a drum tech to haul my equipment in for me," Daniel said.

Without his drum tech, it took Daniel not one, not two...but three trips to get to where he's playing Saturday night -- the same haul he'll make playing a late night gig during those restricted hours.

FOX 7 went to the entertainment district Friday night to see how things were going.  Officers were only ticketing people this weekend but Dirty Dog Bar general manager, Ben Davis warned his customers anyway.

"We've told a lot of people that 'hey don't park, they're only ticketing this week but you're going to get towed next week,'" Davis said.

Davis likes the idea -- mostly.  But wants some amendments, like permits for employees and letting bikers park there.

"Bikers love to come down here.  They love parking in front of the bar, hanging out in the bar, that's what's gonna kill us.  The actual other bars...I kind of agree with the City of Austin because there has been a lot of reported auto injuries," he said.

Austinite Tori Holland says she takes the bus when she comes to Sixth.

"It doesn't really affect me but I can see why it would be a good idea.  It prevents it and there's other places to park like back on 7th Street and stuff that's not blocked off, you don't have to go through as big of a crowd," she said.

Jack Daniel says he understands the point behind the new restrictions -- to prevent drunk drivers from doing harm to crowds of people.  But he wishes exceptions could be made.

"If they could have parking arrangements for the musicians, that would be wonderful.  Because this is Austin, Texas, the 'Live Music Capital of the World' and they are making it awfully difficult for musicians to make a living here on Sixth Street if they're gonna have to cut off this parking," he said.

Again, officers have just been handing out tickets this weekend.  $20 if you pay early and $40 standard.

But they say starting next weekend, if your car is parked on Sixth during the restricted hours, it'll cost you a citation and at least $172 to get it out of the tow yard.

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