LMPD focuses on visible security, threat monitoring and parking challenges for Derby week
Enhanced security will be in place for all events from the Pegasus Parade to Kentucky Derby day.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Louisville Metro Police Department says it's stepping up security over the rest of Kentucky Derby week. Some changes will be noticed by the public, but some others won’t.
Enhanced security will be in place for Thursday's Pegasus Parade to keep thousands of spectators safe. At Churchill Downs, visitors will see more officers in uniform and a large SWAT team presence. However, other security changes are not being released as a precaution.
LMPD Lt. Jill Hume said officers are monitoring all forms of communication, including social media, for threats.
"No credible threats have come in so far, but if you’re out and about and see something suspicious, you’re urged to report it immediately," Hume said. "We ask for the public’s help in our 'see something, say something' campaign. Nothing is too small. So if you see something that needs emergency, call 911 or 574-LMPD."
Some of the biggest changes involve parking and traffic flow around the track during Derby week. For the first time this year, no one can park at Churchill Downs without a reserved parking pass during Derby week.
Central Avenue will be closed on Thursday (Thurby Day), Oaks and Derby days. No pedestrians or cars will be allowed on Central Avenue from Crittenden Drive to Taylor Boulevard on those days. Parking at the stadium is free on Thurby Day, but no shuttles are available.
For those three days, pedestrians will be able to cross Central Avenue only at Third and Ninth Streets. Then they can walk to the Paddock entrance, which is a new addition between Gate 1 and Gate 17. Central Avenue will be reserved as an express lane for only buses and shuttles carrying people from parking at the Kentucky Expo Center.
A new temporary pedestrian bridge now connects the parking lot to the entrance of the track so vehicles can enter and exit the lots without stopping. The bridge will be removed after the Derby.
For Oaks and Derby, parking at the stadium is $20 per car per day, and there are no shuttles. It's about a 20-minute walk to the track. Parking at the Expo Center is free on Thursday, May 3 for Thurby, and you can take a complimentary shuttle to the track.
But on Oaks and Derby Days, all Kentucky Exposition Center parking lots are reserved for Churchill Downs ticket holders. The permits sold with tickets include the shuttle to the track.
People who make extra cash on Oaks and Derby by parking cars in the neighborhoods around Churchill Downs hope the changes in traffic flow do not hit them in the wallet.
"With all the changes that have been made over at the track, people here will just have to play everything by ear," said Mark Terry, who has been parking cars on his family's property for more than 40 years and is confident his regular customers will be able to navigate the traffic changes to find him.
"If you’ve got the lot, they need the spot," he said. "So, they’re going to come to you."
Police will be setting up checkpoints to make sure people are following the traffic plans. Officials advise anyone planning to attend Derby events to plan your routes and bring plenty of patience.
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