Mayor Says Derby Cruising Will End

(LOUISVILLE) -- The annual cruises during Kentucky Derby weekend won't be allowed anymore because of growing violence, Louisville's mayor said Monday.

The informal event during the first weekend in May attracts thousands of revelers, out-of-towners and souped-up cars to Broadway in downtown Louisville. The cruising causes gridlock and often turns west Broadway's six lanes into a parking lot.

"For the safety of our citizens, we must -- and we will -- end Derby weekend cruising," Mayor Jerry Abramson said.

Four people were shot, one fatally, and there were 65 arrests during the weekend of cruising last year. Abramson noted the increased rowdiness last year and said changes needed to be made.

Police said they plan to strictly enforce local ordinances and state laws against public drinking, disorderly behavior and loitering.

"We cannot reasonably assure the safety of the participants and residents in this kind of environment," Louisville police chief Robert White said Monday.

White said officers will divert traffic from west Broadway and keep vehicles flowing on streets that intersect the cruisers' main drag. Police said they also will limit pedestrian traffic in the area. Motorists who block the flow of traffic will be arrested, police said.

Police sought advice from departments in Atlanta, Miami and Virginia Beach on to come up with the policy, according to a statement from the city.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)