Business owners concerned about traffic flow during crawfish festival at Old Town Spring

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by Jeremy Desel / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on April 17, 2013 at 6:20 PM

Updated Thursday, Apr 18 at 10:17 AM

SPRING, Texas -- For two weekends in April the place to be is Old Town Spring. At least that’s the way the organizers of the Texas Crawfish and Music Festival hope it goes. But big changes this year have plenty of business owners worried.

It is traffic that Matt Willoughby depends on.

”Everywhere you look it is just people. Shoulder to Shoulder. Just people,” said Willoughby.

At least that’s what he expects for the Texas Crawfish Festival.

As vendors are setting up shop in Spring, traffic is a concern because for the first time this year all road access will be shut down to Old Town Spring starting Friday morning at 10 a.m. running through late Sunday night.

Business owners are saying even they will have to pay to park.

Plenty of folks are worried that people will not make it to the streets at all, fearing they will park closer to the music stage and miss out on the businesses all together.

What’s worse, some say, is they didn’t learn about the changes until this week.

“No we really haven’t got all the information. They need to tell them how things will work over here,” said business owner Avilys Napier.

What plenty of business owners don’t understand is why the streets have to close Friday morning, leaving them with little traffic and plenty of lost business.

“No it is not necessary. Saturday and Sunday is when we get a lot of people here,” Napier said.

Most of the businesses say they already lose money because of the crawfish festival, but they accept it for the greater good of the business district.

Festival organizers say there is a simple motivation.

”It wasn’t always safe before and that has been our main focus to improve that level so we can improve the safety of the town and just make it a better experience for everybody,” said Elizabeth Grasso, the festival’s music promoter

By closing the streets, event organizers hope to limit unauthorized vendors and what they call a “negative element.”

”I think that this first one is going to have some glitches,” said Carol Holland, the owner an antique store on Main Street.

Holland is not against the changes, even if she is not sure exactly what to expect.

“I am hoping that this will make us more family friendly,” said Holland. “Let people know that it is safe.”

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