Austin Converts Paid Parking Spots to Temporary Food Pickup Zones

Many Austin restaurants and food trucks switched to take-out and delivery services last week due to the city’s mandate to end dine-in services to curb the spread of COVID-19. To make it easier for people to actually pick up groceries during the pandemic, the Austin Transportation Department (ATD) has set up free grocery pickup parking zones across the city.

Regularly paid parking spaces were converted into pick-up areas from last week. At these selected locations, of which there are currently over 100, ATD installed blue and white signage that read “Priority in food collection” and symbols for knife, fork and spoon. Some zones are designed for 15-minute pickup windows, while others limit cars to five minutes.

“The success of local business is key to the vitality and economic strength of our city,” said Jason T. Redfern, ATD car park manager. These pick-up parking zones are designed to encourage residents to go out and visit restaurants in a safer and easier way.

These specific locations were determined by a combination of factors measured from multiple databases, including restaurant concentration; Focus specifically on take-out options (many of which were new only last week); and lack of regular parking. ATD also accepts requests for these zones through its website.

Austin’s ban on dine-in is currently running through Friday May 1st. Redfern expects that once the dine-in ban expires, the department will reassess the situation to see what makes sense.

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