Austin in United States of America
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Austin Bergstrom International Airport (), http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/austinairport. 6 miles (10km) southeast of the city center, it is served by most major carriers, with non-stop service to 34 destinations. There are a selection of buses, taxis, shuttles and car rentals to get you into town and back. Chauffeured sedans or limos are also available to pick you up or drop you off at the airport but normally require advance reservations. Taxi fare to downtown Austin is approximately $30.
Austin Amtrak station, 250 North Lamar Blvd., http://www.amtrak.com. Served by the Texas Eagle Line with service from Chicago to San Antonio.
Austin is located on several major freeways. From San Antonio, head north on IH-35, about two hours. From Dallas, head south on IH-35, about three hours. From Houston, head west on US-290, about three hours.
By busGreyhound Bus Line, ( station is on IH-35 near Highland Mall), +1 800-231-2222, http://www.greyhound.com. Serves Austin daily. Schedules may change. Passengers can catch the number 7 bus to downtown from there
Austin is hilly to the west but generally mildly sloping toward the river in the center of town. There are bike lanes on some major streets. Biking is a great way to get around year round and the weather is usually agreeable.
Yellow Bike Project, Phone: 512-457-9880 http://www.austinyellowbike.org/. Operates two community bike shops where individuals can go and repair their own bikes free of charge. Coordinators are present to answer any questions and guide you, but not to fix your bike for you. At the Main Shop on 51st street there are 10+ work stands and tools sets available for use. The Satellite Shop is better for minor repairs and only has as a few work stands. If you are looking for a cheap bike while in town and are willing to do a little maintenance work, visit The Yellow Bike Project and pick out a bike that needs a little love in exchange for a small donation. If you are interested getting away from touristy attractions on your visit the Yellow Bike shop is a great place to drop in and volunteer a few hours. Their hours change monthly but are up-to-date on their website. If you are lucky you might see one of the name-sake Yellow Bikes around town. If you see a Yellow Bike, feel free to ride it to your destination and leave it for the next person. Yellow Bikes are not to be locked up and you ride at your own risk. The Austin Yellow Bike Project has been operating for ten years and has released over 600 yellow bikes.
Bicycle Sports Shop-Bike Rentals, Phone: 512-477-3472 http://bicyclesportshop.com/page.cfm?PageID=174. The Bicycle Sports Shop is located Downtown and offers the largest selection of bike rentals in the city.
Capital Metro, http://www.capmetro.org. The city's public bus network with a solid system of inexpensive neighborhood express and downtown routes. Busses cost 50c per trip, or you can get a 24 hour pass for $1. CapMetro also runs several free trolley-style buses around downtown, known as 'Dillos (short for Armadillo Express ). E-Bus and Night Owl services serve the city's entertainment districts after hours. The Capital Metro website has a trip planner which can be used to find public transport options between two points in Austin.
Driving is not too difficult, if you're used to living in a large city. Traffic is bad from 7-9 am and 4-6 pm Monday through Fridays, though I-35 through town can be jammed at other times as well
There are two major north-south expressways: I-35 and Loop 1 (also called the Mo-Pac Freeway for former owner of the railroad which runs along it, Missouri-Pacific-or Slo-Pac for anyone who has experienced it at rush hour). There is only one true major east-west freeway in Austin located south of the city center, known as Ben White or US 290 West/Texas highway 71. The freeway section of 290 West/Ben White currently runs from I-35 to just east of Oak Hill. Freeway extensions are currently being constructed east on 71 to the airport, and the beginning stages of construction are taking place west towards and past Oak Hill.
Austin/Oak Hill|Oak Hill is the point at which 71 and 290 split apart and go in separate directions, and in case this isn't confusing enough, some people make the distinction between 290 West and 290 East because at I-35 290 East actually heads up the interstate, and then continues on to the east in North Austin. There is a second freeway that runs from the Northwest side of the city down to the Southeast side of the city past the airport. This freeway is called US 183, and in North Austin it may also be referred to as Research Blvd. Most of it is freeway now, however there are still several major intersections which are currently being constructed and turned into freeway.
I-35 has no loop that circumnavigates the city, so watch out for aggressive, confused drivers. Also, keep your eyes open for the upper deck/lower deck split between Airport Blvd and Martin Luther King Jr Blvd; it's confusing, and accidents occur there frequently. Drivers going through Austin without stopping, or those who wish to avoid the chaos of the lower deck, should use the right two lanes as the deck split approaches, in contrast to other cities where through traffic uses the left lane. On the northbound side, traffic entering I-35 at Martin Luther King Jr Blvd goes directly to the upper deck.
Out-of-towners be warned: on-ramps on I-35, especially the lower deck, are very short.
Austin has a mostly completed network of toll roads, see Central Texas Turnpike System and Central Texas Regional Mobile Authority. These include SH 130, an Austin bypass east of town; SH 45, an east-west artery in North Austin; the North MoPac extension; the US 183A bypass of Cedar Park and Leander; and SH 45SE in far south Austin. TxTag accounts are available for commuters. There has been significant opposition and accommodations have been made in some areas, see Austin Toll Party. Both 183A and MoPac are rather deceptive-if you keep going north on either 183 or MoPac, the freeway seamlessly transitions into a toll road and the signing is rather poor. To avoid the toll, you must keep a sharp eye out and get off the main lanes. Even worse, the first toll on 183A is TxTag Only meaning that you cannot pay cash.
Parts of the city are subject to flooding at times during the year, however it is not too common as Austin does not usually get an excessive amount of rain. 2007 has seen several flood episodes with the worst effects in Marble Falls, northwest of the city. See City of Austin Flood History for historic flooding.
Note: For those of you unfamiliar with proper treatment of flooded areas, NEVER drive through flooded low water crossings. You will lose your car and possibly your life. As little as one foot of running water can and does wash a car away and each year there are some deaths due to this. Turn Around, Don't Drown.Parking
While driving is not too bad, parking in the city center can be difficult; look for municipal parking garages as officers will ticket you in the blink of an eye. (Check meters, though, because many are free in the evenings, on weekends, and on major holidays.) Worse yet, vehicles illegally parked in private parking areas are very quickly towed, so make sure that you don't park in spots marked no parking. see http://www.texasfreeway.com/Austin/austin.shtml/
Parking is free in the Texas State History Museum garage near UT after hours and on weekends. As of 2005 under SB 1533, state employees may park in state garages during non-business hours for free.
There are several cab companies on call if you'd prefer to avoid the driving hassle. * Yellow Cab, Phone: 512-452-9999. website includes fare estimator and online booking: http://www.YellowCabAustin.com * Marriton Limousine, Phone: 512-329-7007, Toll free: 1-800-940-7007, http://www.marritonlimo.com For airport transfers or those who just demand a bit more luxury you can rent a chauffeured sedan, limousine or minibus.
When to go
*Austin/East Austin|East Austin
*Austin/Northwest Austin|Northwest Austin
*Austin/South Austin|South Austin
*Austin/Travis Heights|Travis Heights-bordered by I-35 to the east, Oltorf Street to the south, Congress Avenue to the west and East Riverside Drive to the north.
*Austin/UT & The Drag|UT & The Drag
*Austin/Hyde Park|Hyde Park-bordered by Duval Street to the east, 38th Street to the south, Guadalupe to the west and 45th Street to the north.
*Austin/North Loop|North Loop
*Austin/Oak Hill|Oak Hill
Austin is a generally safe city. As with most American cities, credit cards are accepted nearly universally, especially for nightlife. Therefore, for convenience and safety, it's inadvisable to carry large amounts of cash.
The number for police, fire, and medical services is 911.
There is generally a large, visible police presence (mounted, foot, and cruiser) at night in the 6th St. area. They are quite willing to let belligerent drunks dry out overnight in the city jail. They do, however, provide a safe and secure area to enjoy yourself and Austin's famous live music. Austin police have a reputation for being aggressive and Taser-happy.
Because surrounding hills concentrate the water, some streets in Austin and the surrounding area are prone to flooding during periods of heavy rain. These areas are typically marked as 'low water crossings' but in any event do not drive or walk across moving water. Each year several people are killed as they are swept away by flooding. You will also see many flood control structures built into the landscape. Small, dry low places with bounding berms during the dry season, these are dangerous places to be in, but keep Austin safer when the rains come.