LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Oct. 31, 2017) – Churchill Downs Racetrack, one of the world’s most historic sports and entertainment venues, today unveiled plans to improve the parking and transportation experience for guests traveling to the Kentucky Derby.
The $32 million project will feature a significantly enlarged, highly-efficient bus depot and additional transportation infrastructure for more than 170,000 guests that attend the Kentucky Derby each year, while also enhancing the overall traffic and parking flow for guests who visit the historic racetrack throughout the year.
For the 2018 Kentucky Derby Week race events, 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 the majority of tickets will include an offsite parking permit at the Kentucky Exposition Center and roundtrip 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.”
In addition to the enlarged transportation infrastructure, the project will add 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 into the paddock area, which replaces the former Gate 1 and 17, will add to the plaza space inside the venue’s gates. Guests also will benefit from enhanced outdoor LED lighting and a perimeter fence to improve pedestrian safety and flow.
Officials from Churchill Downs, Kentucky Venues and the Louisville Metro Police Department will work with parking and traffic consultants and engineers to refine the transportation plan over the next few months. Ticketholders without an official parking permit issued by Churchill Downs, including all General Admission ticketholders, may park and walk to the racetrack from the surrounding neighborhood or Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. Additional information regarding Derby Week parking will be released to the public over the next few months.
The construction effort at Churchill Downs, which is currently underway, will initially focus on the areas adjacent to Central Ave. Phase 1 is scheduled to be completed prior to the start of the 2018 Spring Meet. The second phase of the project adjacent to Longfield Ave. will begin after the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve and will be completed prior to the 2018 Breeders’ Cup World Championships on Nov. 2-3, 2018.
Patrons visiting the track during this year’s Fall Meet and the 2018 Spring and September Meets will notice the construction effort. Signs, electronic message boards and personnel are in place to guide guests around the temporary road closures and direct them to appropriate parking lots. Guests are advised to visit www.ChurchillDowns.com/Parking in advance to view recommended routes and a complete list of guest-appropriate temporary parking lots. The majority of guests must park in the Gate 10 Longfield Avenue lot this fall. Guests visiting Churchill Downs for Kentucky Derby Week in 2018 will not be affected by the onsite construction.