LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The 145th running of the Kentucky Derby -- an event twice the size of the Super Bowl -- brings heavy traffic to Louisville.
Louisville Metro Police Department is prepared to handle the congestion.
LMPD officials released their safety and traffic plans to help make things run smoother for drivers and pedestrians, as Churchill Downs ramps up its schedule and the Kentucky Derby Festival rolls out its biggest events.
One of the biggest changes Derby-goers will see this week on Central Avenue is the absence of the big yellow pedestrian bridge at 6th Street. LMPD says weather conditions and logistics made it difficult for the bridge to be efficient last year.
In its place will be a pedestrian crossing at 6th Street, in addition to the usual pedestrian crossings at 3rd Street and 9th Street.
Those attending Churchill Downs will once again notice the tall fences that prevent pedestrians from being in the congested areas.
"Because of the heavy amount of pedestrian traffic, we've added an additional pedestrian crossing at 6th Street this year," said Lt. Micah Scheu of the Louisville Metro Police Department. "That should alleviate a lot of the congestion we had last year at 9th Street and 3rd Street."
Drivers will see changes as well.
Residents around Churchill Downs have complained in the past about not being able to park in the neighborhoods surrounding the track.
"I like the city," says Eugene Smith, who lives near Churchill Downs. "I like the Derby. But I don't like the way Churchill has the authority to take over all the streets and everything. That's unfair."
LMPD says parking will be allowed in those areas Derby week as long as drivers don't block streets, driveways or fire hydrants.
Residents are being advised that on Oaks and Derby Days they will have to take Dixie Highway to 7th Street/Berry Boulevard to Taylor Boulevard. From there, residents will have to use side streets like Arcade, Carlisle, Brentwood and Whitney Avenue for access.
Below are the street closures for this year's Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby Days:
Below are the "No Parking" areas for this year's Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby Days:
Parking at Cardinal Stadium:
Race fans will also see parking changes close to the track.
Parking at Cardinal Stadium will be free on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of Derby week. Lots will open at 10 a.m. each day, but you'll have to walk. No shuttles will be running between the parking lots and Churchill Downs. Plan on wearing comfortable shoes and walking about 20 minutes.
Cardinal Stadium lots will open at 7 a.m. on Oaks and Derby Days. Parking fees are $20 for cars, $100 for RVs and $150 for buses.
Parking at the Kentucky Expo Center:
Fans do not need a pass to park at the Kentucky Expo Center on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of Derby week. Lots are open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Guest can come in KEC gates 1,2,4 or 6. On Thursday, shuttles from KEC to Churchill Downs will run on a continuous loop between 10 a.m. and 8:30 p.m.
Parking passes are required at the Kentucky Expo Center on Oaks and Derby Days. Only attendees with reserved parking will be allowed to park at KEC. Lots will open at 7 a.m. Guests can enter at gates 1,2, 4 and 6. Shuttles will run on a continuous loop on Oaks from 7 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Shuttles run from 7 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. on Derby Day.
Cars left overnight will be towed.
For complete parking information provided by Churchill Downs, CLICK HERE.
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