For many years, the Austin Symphony Orchestra has put together a splendid mixture of fireworks and music as part of its annual Independence Day celebration. For most of those years, the event was held at Auditorium Shores, just across the river from downtown and easily accessible from the University.
However, this year, the celebration has been moved because of construction to the Austin 360 Amphitheatre at the Circuit of the Americas near the airport. The new location is 14 miles away and is virtually inaccessible using public transportation. Since the Symphony Orchestra has deemed it too expensive to offer transportation to carless patrons, students without access to personal automobiles will either have to catch a ride or take a cab, an expensive proposition. The Greater Austin Transportation Company notes that a one-way trip from the Tower to the Amphitheatre would cost about $45, which, it says, could reach as high as $60 in Fourth of July traffic.
Additionally, many students who have access to their own cars may not want to drive, given the copious amounts of alcohol typically associated with the holiday. In order to keep everyone safe while having fun, a centrally located event would have been ideal.
While Auditorium Shores is obviously out of the question given the ongoing construction, there are countless other nearby locations that could have played host, including Zilker Park or other locations in town. These locations not only would be centrally located and avoided so much confusion over the setting with those familiar with the event, but it would have been friendlier to the thousands of students nearby.
While the city is ultimately not responsible for providing funding for the event, it could have chipped in the money for some sort of transportation to the event site. Instead, those without cars wishing to take in the show — neglected again — will either have to break the bank or hope they can find a cheaper way there.