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F1 Marks First Lap, Leaders to Discuss Preparedness
Updated: Monday, October 22 2012, 11:15 AM CDT
Racing toward the finish line: with less than a month to go until Austin’s first Formula One race, F1 great Mario Andretti took the first lap around the completed track Sunday as the clock ticks toward hundreds of thousands of fans filling Austin for the big race. And while work may be done inside the track, outside, both construction crews and city leaders are putting the finishing touches to make the race as smooth of a ride as possible.
“It’s just gonna be a circus,” said Jimmy Hastings, who lives alongside the track. “I don't know how they plan on getting everybody in there."
Still to be completed: roads into and out of the track, including the extension of Kellam Road, which officials hope eases congestion.
Traffic was the top concern of every resident we spoke with, and while many won’t be going to the race, they told us they’ll feel its impact the most.
"Our landlord told us no visitors and have enough food and water to last three days because you won't be able to go anywhere," said Hastings. “As far as getting out and working, I don't know how that's gonna do.”
"I'm afraid we need to stock up and not even try and go anywhere," said Clyde Philippus, who lives a short distance from the track’s entrance.
Another concern: easy access for law enforcement and emergency services.
"I think they're gonna have their hands full with traffic and people parked illegally," said Hastings. “God forbid anybody gets sick around here.”
"If we have a fender bender, it's probably gonna be waiting for awhile," said Phillippus.
But residents and officials say like many firsts, the plan won’t be perfect. They just hope organizers learn from the wrong turns.
On Monday morning, law enforcement, traffic, airport security, and customs facilities will be among the topics discussed at an F1 preparedness meeting hosted by U.S. Congressman Michael McCaul (R-Austin). Austin’s mayor, city manager, police and fire chiefs, and airport officials, along with the Travis County Sheriff and DPS Director, are all expected to attend.
On Tuesday, Travis County Commissioners will get the public’s input on safety and traffic plans for events being held at the track before the first race: http://www.co.travis.tx.us/commissioners_court/agendas/2012/10/vs121023.asp
Austin Fan Fest
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Austin Grand Prix Parking
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