A scary realization came to me the other night while I was driving around looking for parking east of Interstate 35 to catch a screening downtown. East of I-35 (East Austin) is typically where I park if I go anywhere downtown; it’s much easier than fighting for or paying for parking.
As I parked deeper than I normally would on the eastside due to the chaos that is SXSW, the realization that parking on the eastside could one day no longer be free hit me like a ton of bricks. Flashbacks of paying hundreds of dollars a year in parking meters, permits and parking tickets in Los Angeles came flooding back.
This may sound like a trivial concern, but it lead to the larger question that had been dancing in my brain while I battled thousands of people through the streets, sidewalks, events and stores as I wandered through SXSW- how much is Austin changing and is it for the better or worse?
I overheard a few rumblings from locals during the film and interactive portion of SXSW that (more…)