AUSTIN (KXAN) - Sick and tired of trying to find parking in Downtown Austin on the weekends? Well, look no more. Weekend MetroRail is finally here, just in time for South By Southwest .
Hundreds of thousands flock to the Capital City each spring for the music, movie and interactive events. Last year, it was the main reason MetroRail sold 17,000 tickets with special operations during the two SXSW weekends. A normal four-day stretch sells about 6,400 tickets.
Steve McDermott, owner of Downtown Burgers, saw those extra hours last year bring big business.
"To me, it's all about safety, getting people off the road who have been drinking downtown," McDermott said.
His shop just a block away from the downtown station was gearing up Friday for the rush again when SXSW 2012 begins next weekend.
"It would be much better for them to get in a train than in a car," he said.
That success for his place and the rail could become a regular thing. Thanks to a deal reached Thursday night between the city of Austin and Capital Metro, the trains will continue running on Friday evenings and Saturdays for the next three years.
"They don't have to worry about gas, congestion, parking. Just get on the train and take an easy ride into downtown," said Linda Watson, Capital Metro president and CEO.
"It's good to finally see people getting into the swing of things," said McDermott.
Starting next weekend, the rail will run until midnight on Friday. On Saturday, March 10 and 17, it will run from 10:30 a.m. to midnight. On Saturdays after the event, it will run 4 p.m. to midnight.
More than 100 trees covered in lights now shine bright throughout Zilker Park. The Trail of Lights is open for another season.
A 10-year-old was killed while standing outside of a vehicle which lost control during the icy conditions, DPS said.
Travis County non-profit Center for Child Protection will benefit next March from an all day fundraiser at the Circuit of the Americas that will see plenty of donors racing on the track.
Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg heads to court this week as a defendant in a civil trial that could oust her from office.
Santa visited Austin early on Sunday, joining hundreds of motorcyclists for their annual Toy Run.
Late Saturday night into early Sunday morning, a light band of freezing drizzle traversed the I-35 corridor eastward. With sub-freezing temperatures, even the light precipitation created major problems.