AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin City Council is directing interim city manager Jesús Garza and city staff to create a plan that covers access, safety and celebration of the total solar eclipse which will take place on April 8, 2024.

The last time a total solar eclipse was visible in the area where Austin is located was in the 14th century, per city documents. The next opportunity after April 8 where it will be visible in Austin will be in the 24th century, documents added.

Under the proposed direction, Garza would work with city partners such as Visit Austin, the Austin Parks Foundation, school districts and area governments with focuses in four specific areas:

  • Information:
    • Create a public awareness campaign about the total solar eclipse
    • Prepare and share basic information surrounding the total solar eclipse, including the timing of it, a map showing its path of totality and safety information shared in multiple languages
    • Offer safety information and other resources via text by using community warning systems, including Warn Central Texas
    • Utilize experts — including university faculty, graduate students and amateur astronomers affiliated with official organizations like the Austin Astronomical Society — to explain the phenomenon and answer questions from the public
  • Access:
    • Authorize specific park areas within the path of totality so people can gather for a shared viewing experience
    • Work in tandem with CapMetro to offer shuttle services for people who either aren’t in the path of totality or who would like to travel to see a longer totality
    • Work in coordination with the Austin Convention Center, Visit Austin and the hospitality industry in anticipation of a large influx of visitors
    • Develop a plan so city employees can experience the eclipse “to the greatest extent possible”
    • Offer essential resources for neighborhoods “interested in planning safe and informative eclipse-related events”
  • Safety:
    • Share eclipse-related information in several different languages as well as via multiple alert systems, such as text messages. to help inform the public
    • Teach both the public and city employees about the importance of using designated “eclipse glasses” to view the total solar eclipse, save for when the sun is completely covered by the moon and it’s safe to view with the naked eye
    • Make designated eclipse glasses available at all city viewing sites and make sure staff and speaker systems are on hand to distribute to viewers and guide them during the countdown
    • Plan for increased demand levels at the city’s 911 call center as well as Austin-Travis County EMS, Austin Police and transportation staff
    • Watch and plan for possible changes and disruptions to flights at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport
    • Coordinate with state emergency management services and other partners
    • Institute “key lessons learned” from other cities who were within the paths of totality with the August 2017 total solar eclipse and the October 2023 annular solar eclipse
  • Celebration:
    • Facilitate educational and viewing events at city-owned venues, like libraries and parks
    • Work with Visit Austin, the hospitality industry and the Tourism Public Improvement District to coordinate public celebrations
    • Work alongside county governments, local school districts and higher education institutions
    • Collaboration with local artists, art groups “to celebrate the eclipse through newly created music, visual art, dance, poetry, and other forms of art”
    • Build on lessons learned during the October 2023 annular solar eclipse