NewsSolar Eclipse 2024


Don't plan to park on a busy road or highway to watch the eclipse, officials say not to

Posted: 6:32 PM, Feb 12, 2024
Updated: 2024-02-12 19:32:16-05
Parking during the eclipse

WACO, Texas — The Solar Eclipse is exactly two months away and some Central Texas leaders are concerned with how some travelers plan to view it.

Carla Pendergraft is with the Convention and Visitors Bureau in the City of Waco. Part of her role with the city is planning and coordinating eclipse events.

She said, “I monitor probably 25 or 30 Facebook groups that talk about the eclipse.”

She told 25 News' Bobby Poitevint some of those conversations are about drivers pulling over on the side of the road to watch the eclipse.

She added, “It’s a little worrisome.”

Assistant Chief Alex Gearhart with the Killeen Police Department told 25 News, “We strongly encourage people not to park on the side of the road. We suspect it’s probably going to happen. Hopefully it doesn’t happen on a large scale because we have to keep the roads clear so that emergency vehicles can respond and we can just keep traffic moving.”

Keep in mind, thousands of people are expected to visit Central Texas, double or tripling some town’s and city’s populations.

He said, “People start stopping on the side of the road or side of the highway, that’s gonna be a recipe for disaster.”

McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara told 25 News, “We’re a little bit concerned about that but we’re ready to address that if it were to get out of hand and be a danger to the community.”

Sheriff McNamara hopes it won’t come to that.

He added, “We do have tow trucks ready to remove a vehicle if it’s way out in the highway or if somebody breaks down. That’s a very good possibility.”

Central Texas leaders just want you to have a plan in place of where you’re gonna watch the eclipse well before it happens on April 8th and get to that spot sooner rather than later.

They want you to remember there are public places like parks, eclipse events or even your own backyard to safely watch the spectacle in the sky.

“Most of these people are gonna be good people that just wanna see this life time event” Sheriff McNamara said.

He added, “Find a place where they can enjoy even more, get out of the car and be at a safe place.”

Keep in mind there are thousands of free parking spots across Waco and in towns and cities across Central Texas available to travelers during the eclipse.

While this story may only be reaching locals right now, it doesn’t hurt for you to share the story online to let friends, family and others be aware of plans and options available to them before they traveling down to watch the eclipse in Central Texas.

Click here to learn more about parking in the Waco area.