LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Churchill Downs unveiled plans to improve the parking and transportation experience for guests traveling to the Kentucky Derby on Tuesday.
The plan includes a $32 million project that will feature an enlarged, highly-efficient bus depot, along with an additional transportation infrastructure for more than 170,000 guests that attend the Kentucky Derby each year. The plan is to also enhance the traffic and parking flow for guests who visit the historic racetrack throughout the year.
For the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby, Churchill Downs will package official parking permits with advanced orders for suite, hospitality, dining and reserved seats. A portion of premium tickets will include an onsite parking permit at Churchill Downs, while a majority of the tickets will include an offsite parking permit at the Kentucky Exposition Center and round trip shuttle transportation to Churchill Downs.
"Better facilities equates to better experiences," said Kevin Flanery, President of Churchill Downs. "Parking, shuttles and traffic congestion have been a recurring theme in post-Oaks and Derby feedback surveys. While we are limited in the amount of vehicles we can park onsite at Churchill Downs, this significant investment will allow us to expand our mass transit operation during Derby Week and allow our guests to get into and out of the racetrack quicker and safer."
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The project is also adding a pedestrian plaza and enlarged paddock entrance gate for guests to enter and exit the racetrack from the bus depot, other onsite parking areas or the surrounding neighborhoods. The new entrance, which replaces the former Gate 1 and 17, will add to the plaza space inside the venue's gates.
Churchill Downs, Kentucky Venues and LMPD will work with parking and traffic consultants and engineers to refine the transportation plan. Ticket holders without official parking permits issued by Churchill Downs, including all General Admission ticket holders, will have to park and walk to the racetrack from the surrounding neighborhood or Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.
Phase one of the project is expected to be complete by the start of the 2018 spring meet. The second phase of the project will begin after the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve, but will be completed before the 2018 Breeders' Cup World Championships, which take place on Nov. 2-3, 2018.
Guests who are planning on attending Churchill Downs can click here for a view of recommended routes and a complete list of temporary parking lots.