12/04/2015Community Impact NewspaperCommunity ImpactExternal Author: Amy DenneyApp can help patrons avoid traffic to Austin Trail of Lights festival
Austin, TX

Patrons heading to the 2015 Austin Trail of Lights on Dec. 8-22 can expect road closures, but a smartphone app can help navigate to Zilker Park.

Metropia Inc., which released its traffic navigation app in May, and the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority announced a partnership with the Trail of Lights Foundation to help visitors navigate their way to the festival.

Metropia customized the app to allow users to input the Trail of Lights as their destination. The app will calculate the best routes and departure times for getting to either the Trail of Lights shuttle lots or prepaid parking lots in the most efficient manner.

[Austin Trail of Lights]

The 1.25-mile-long Trail of Lights features more than 2 million lightbulbs and more than 50 lights displays.COURTESY RON OLFERS

“We are constantly looking for ways to improve the driving experiences in our community,” said Mia Zmud, Metropia Austin principal, in a news release. “The Trail of Lights is such a beloved tradition that The Mobility Authority and Metropia truly cherishes as a part of our city. We want to provide our citizens with a stress-free option for traveling to and from their holiday festivities.”

The free app is available in theApple store or in Google Play.

Admission to the Trail of Lights is free Dec. 8-15 and is $3 for anyone age 12 and older Dec. 16-22. The Trail of Lights Fun Run is Dec. 5 from 7:30-10 p.m. Visit www.austintrailoflights.org for more information.

Parking and shuttles

Patrons wishing to park at Zilker Park will need to purchase parking passes online in advance for $15 per car. Patrons driving southbound on MoPac to Zilker Park will not be allowed to make a U-turn at Bee Caves Road and will instead need to turn around at the Barton Skyway exit.

The Trail of Lights shuttle will run Dec. 11-13 and 16-22 from 5:30-10:30 p.m. Passes per person are $5, which includes admission, and may be purchased online, at shuttle locations and area H-E-B stores. The shuttle will pick up passengers at Republic Square Park, 422 Guadalupe St., in downtown Austin, or the Toney Burger Center, 3200 Jones Road, in South Austin. Children seated in a lap can ride for free.

Road closures

The Trail of Lights Foundation will have partial road closures Dec. 8-10 and 14-15 from 4-11 p.m. on Stratford Drive between Barton Springs Road and Nature Center Drive as well as the outside lanes of Barton Springs from Robert E. Lee Road to Rollingwood Drive, according to the foundation.

Full road closures will occur Dec. 11 from 5:30-11 p.m., from 4-11 p.m. Dec. 12-13, from 4-11 p.m., Dec. 16-18 from 5:30-11 p.m. and Dec. 19-22 from 4-11 p.m. on Stratford Drive from Barton Springs Road to Nature Center Drive and on Barton Springs Road from Robert E. Lee Road to Rollingwood Drive.

More information, including maps, are available on the Trail of Lights website.

Capital Metro bus detours

Because of the road closures, Capital Metro’s Route 30 will be detoured from 5-11 p.m. for the Trail of Lights road closures. Patrons can still use Route 30 to get to Zilker Park by getting off the bus near Barton Springs Road and Lamar Boulevard.

Other routes people can use to ride public transit instead of driving include routes 3, 4, 338 and MetroRapid Route 803. For more information visit www.capmetro.org.