Monday, September 22, 2014

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City designates lanes on Sixth Street for musicians

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TWC News: City designates lanes on Sixth Street for musicians
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Playing on Sixth Street may now be a little easier for musicians.

The city of Austin created musician loading zones to better accommodate bands that need to unload their equipment for shows.

The music lanes are designated with diamond boxes so bands don’t have to fear parking tickets.

"It is the most effective forward thinking thing we've done for live music in a couple of years," Bob Woody of the East Sixth Street Community Association said.

In the past, bands double-parked on Sixth Street before and after shows.

"They're down here trying to make some money for their time here, and a lot of times they work for very little the last thing we want to do is make it so it costs them to do business," Woody said.

Now between 6:30 p.m. and 3 a.m., musicians can park in a music lane, get a placard from the venue they're playing and be free from parking tickets for up to 20 minutes.

"This will just help clarify that this is a musician loading zone, they're doing what they're supposed to be doing in that diamond lane and there shouldn't be any problems," Brenda Johnson of the Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau said.

The musician lanes are similar to commercial vehicle lanes on side streets that many beer trucks use for deliveries.

Some musicians say the lanes are overdue, but still may not help revive the Sixth Street music scene.

"I think they are good for now, but they were needed a long time ago and its a neglected thing," Dave Brown of Groovin Ground said.

"It's not about lanes. It's not about paint. It's about the city giving the music community some respect," Evan Bozarth of Groovin Ground said.

Business owners along Sixth Street are hopeful the restricted lanes will bring more live bands to their venues.

"We're looking at anything we can do to help musicians to help them do their jobs on Sixth Street," Woody said.

Of course, more live music will bring more live music fans. Some venue owners said the lanes come just in time for South by Southwest.

Already more than 40 venues on Sixth Street have been booked this year, the most the music festival has ever booked.

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