Now that South by Southwest, or what the locals call “South by,” is over, they will finally start going downtown again. I was reading an article about how the only main economic benefit for South by Southwest is to downtown businesses. Other businesses not close to downtown actually close their doors during it because they are too far from downtown for the event goers, but too close to downtown for the locals to venture.
In my blog entry about my atypical Austin commute, I mentioned how bad traffic is in Austin. This is on a normal day. My commute is nowhere close to downtown. Getting downtown during normal traffic can be a pain, and when you add a major even like South by Southwest, it’s almost gridlock. Most people groan about normal traffic, so they completely avoid downtown when anything major is going on, including South by.
Besides the congestion, it is very hard to find a place to park. If you do find a place to park, places that are normally packed are now almost impossible to go to without an insane amount of waiting. Just like how many Northerners would be hesitant to go out during a big snowstorm, unless they had to, many Austinites avoid downtown during events like South by Southwest. I know I do.
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