Astroworld becomes giant rodeo parking lot

February 25, 2009 5:52:37 PM PST
The rodeo cook off kicks off this weekend and this year some people will be parking on what was once sacred ground in Houston.[Remembering Astroworld
See our old videos and photos of Astroworld from the KTRK archive. CLICK HERE ]

It's been nearly three and a half years since Astroworld shut its doors and this weekend the open space will finally have some use as a giant Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo parking lot.

Aaron Puffer is a man in motion. He was busy all day setting up the barbecue booth for his HLSR cook team. He says parking across the street is a lot better than parking several streets away.

"Most people, when they're ready to go are ready to go, and some people would stay longer if they knew they had easy access in and out instead of leaving an hour ahead of time with traffic," he told us.

The 150 acre lot formerly known as Astroworld has been empty for a while, but is expected to be packed on Friday when it will be available for rodeo parking.

"We're going to actually be working with the Houston Police Department and the sheriff's department and that's going to ensure a smooth flow of traffic in and out of the parking lot," said Andi Devera with the Fazeli Group who owns the leasing rights. "And we're going to have plenty of security and parking attendants who are going to be directing traffic. "

Lighting towers will be brought in and parts of the property not suitable for parking, such as areas with holes in the ground, will be marked off. There will be entrances along the 610 feeder between Kirby and Fannin and exits off of Belfort. After the rodeo, all entrances will be used as exits so all traffic will flow out of the lot.

There are only about 12,000 parking spaces on the actual rodeo site. Officials welcome the new 5,000 space parking opportunity.

"There are roughly 30 to 35,000 parking spaces in and around our event both in The Medical Center, offsite parking, that we would like for our patrons to be aware of," said HLSR General Manager Joe Bruce Hancok. "This is just in addition to that."

The lot is not paved and is bumpy, two factors that do not bother some rodeo patrons.

"You go to festivals and half the time the festivals are out in the country on gravel roads," said Virginia Hernandez. "I guess don't wear heels."

"We think it's great that people will be able to cross the bridge and it will bring back memories of when Astroworld was here," Devera said.

The Astrolot opens this Friday.

Before you mosey on out the door this weekend, be sure to check our website. You'll find everything you need to know about the rodeo including parking information, the entertainment lineup, and information on the trail rides, it's all right here.

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