Derby cruisers to experience relaxed enforcement this time around

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WHAS11.com

Posted on April 22, 2009 at 9:27 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 15 at 1:25 PM

(WHAS11) - Metro Police passed out flyers along Broadway spelling out this year's relaxed rules including opening up Broadway and its cross-streets. It affects a huge stretch from downtown nearly to the Ohio River.

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Derby cruising; what became a tradition in the Louisville's west end leads to wrecks, mobs in the street, and crime, so police shut it down.

In years past, barricades blocked off all side streets from Broadway but not this year. They're getting rid of the barricades opening up side streets. That is, unless traffic gets too bad. Then police say these barricades are coming right back.

"It was almost like a war zone that you had to have access to get in," Shawnee Neighborhood President Rudy Davidson told us. He hopes those days are gone with new days of good behavior and a more relaxed police force on the way. "I think it's good that they can see that it's not necessary to have that strong enforcement and begin to let people enjoy themselves on Derby."

At "Geometric Shapes II" on Broadway, Reverend Elmer Ross wasn't quite as thrilled when he found the new rules on his barber shop door. "Did any other neighborhood get these? Anybody in the Highlands get these that you know of? See, see this. Anybody in the Highlands get this?"

Ross feels like even with fewer restrictions, police still aren't playing fair in the West End because they'll be cracking down on any street vendor without a city permit. "You go out anywhere near Churchill Downs, go to Bardstown Road, anywhere else and they're out there selling stuff and nobody's harassing them for permits and stuff," Ross says.

Still, police would argue what they did in the past and what they continue to do this year will all be in the name of keeping everyone safe.

"Yeah, but safe from what?" Ross argues, "We here in this city can't even enjoy the biggest event in the world in your own community? You're going to come to my community and tell me- you can't have no derby? Are you nuts?"

Strong words, strong emotions, but again, weaker rules this year for the first time in a while. Police still will not allow parking from Preston Street to 34th on Broadway. Also spelled out in new rules, permits won't be needed to get in and out of the area. Again, officers are still enforcing the cruising ordinance-j ust not closing off Broadway.

A press conference is scheduled for Tuesday to reveal more about this year's more relaxed rules.

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