AUSTIN (KXAN) — Those who live near the Hill of Life — a popular place to run, mountain bike and access the Barton Creek Greenbelt — are fighting to get their parking back.
Street parking is the only option in the Woods of Westlake neighborhood, just off of Loop 360 in southwest Austin, which is where the Hill of Life trailhead is located.
Chris Burton lives on Shannon Oaks Trail and has been working with the city council, transportation department and police regarding the greenbelt visitors, and what he calls hazards they’ve brought to the 22 young children who live on his street.
He applied for residential permit parking to be implemented on Fridays between 2 and 10 p.m. and all day on Saturdays and Sundays. He got the majority of homeowners on his street to sign a petition that was submitted to the city as part of the process.
“Honestly, it’s a minimal fee in the end for peace of mind knowing you get to come home and have a parking spot in front of your house,” said Thea Savino, who lives next door to Burton. “Or if you are having a friend come over that they can actually park near your house than have to park two blocks away.”
It’s not just the lack of parking, but the weekend crowd Savino says litters on people’s lawns and fails to pick up after their dogs. She also can’t seem to forget a situation she witnessed one day after school.
“The school bus was getting ready to drop kids off and there was a topless girl walking across the street,” said Savino. “I’m pretty chill with most things, but honestly I don’t think the kids getting off the school bus need to be exposed to that.”
Some of the trail visitors like Mario Morales, who have trouble finding parking during busy times, can sympathize with the neighborhood.
“They do pay for this area — this is their neighborhood, so if they feel like that’s what they need to do then I totally get it,” said Morales.
Erik Stanley with Trail Roots Running said he does see a lot of litter along the street where people park. His running club which trains on the Hill of Life aims to leave no trace behind. He does say the crowds go along with living next to a public trail.
The city of Austin’s transportation department is in the process of studying the street. Homeowners say they’ve seen people coming by on the weekends to count parked cars. Next, a traffic engineer will review the information and give a recommendation for final approval.