New fencing around Churchill Downs aimed at ensuring safety of p - WDRB 41 Louisville News

New fencing around Churchill Downs aimed at ensuring safety of pedestrians

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Getting to Churchill Downs is a bit of a journey, but the locals didn't seem to mind Thursday.

"This is definitely Derby for the locals," Thelma Willett said. "It used to be Friday. But now Thursday. And I would say in five years, it'll be Wednesday for the locals."

Living it up for Thurby like only the locals can, they're noticing a change on their walk to the track.

"They're more confused," said Steven Pressley, who took in Thursday's races. "They don't know where the crossings are. They've limited to two crossings."

The pedestrian fence is bigger, taller and longer this year. It runs over the bridge all the way to Ninth Street.

"It just seems a lot more organized and a lot more planned out than it was in the past couple years," said Mary Ashly, another track attendee Thursday.

Churchill Downs got permission from the city to put up the fence for safety reasons. They want to prevent people from walking into the street, crossing in front of buses. There are officers directing traffic at the two designated crossings: Fourth Street and Ninth Street.

"That actually is a benefit," Pressley said. "Because that keeps people from stumbling into traffic."

Pressley has been helping visitors find that perfect Derby parking spot for 17 years, so he's seen it all. And he thinks this safety change could use a little tweaking.

"I think somewhere in a block in the center of that, there needs to be another crossing," he said. "Because there are a lot of people on this side of Heywood and Central Avenue." 

If you don't have a parking pass, you can pay $20, park at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium, and walk to the track. You can also park in one the neighborhoods around Churchill Downs. 

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