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Here Are the Louisville Traffic and Safety Plans for the Rest of Derby Week

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Louisville Metro Police Lt. Joe Seeyle knows the value of patience during the Kentucky Derby season. The 18-year police veteran leads the department's traffic unit. But even before he gained the responsibility for the safe travels of thousands on the city's biggest day, Seelye knew the landscape of traffic during the city's biggest day.

He grew up near Churchill Downs and as a young man walked up to Central Avenue for the Derby day block party.

He'll be at the track again this year, but not for the party.

His job is to lead the effort of ensuring that motorists can navigate the area near the racetrack as swiftly as possible.

He's also tasked with making sure the officers directing traffic have the resources they need to be effective.

If it rains, he brings dry socks, he said. If an officer has little experience directing traffic, he'll pair them with someone accustomed to signaling drivers when and where to go.

"It can be a struggle," he said.

"One thing we tell the citizens, as well as our officers, is just be patient."

Patience, along with enough gas to withstand some stagnant traffic, will make leaving this year's Derby much more pleasant, Seelye said.

Louisville Metro Police have been hammering out a plan they are confident will be the most effective way to move traffic in and out of the areas surrounding Churchill Downs on Thursday through Saturday.

For starters, Seelye encourages anyone planning on driving to the event to park near established express routes designed to take people away from the track with as little disruption as possible.

“If you live in the western part of the city consider parking around Central (Avenue), Arcade (Avenue), Berry Boulevard or Algonquin (Parkway)," he said. "Our southern express route includes Southern Parkway, Seventh Street and Taylor (Boulevard), they all lead to the interstate and our northern express routes will be Third Street, Ninth Street, Floyd Street and Crittenden Drive.”

Seelye said all four lanes of Southern Parkway will be redirected southbound following both Oaks and Derby. The roadway will be returned to normal north and southbound flow once traffic subsides to normal levels, he added.

Here is a complete list of street closures for Kentucky Oaks and Derby day.

Here is a complete list of street closures for Thursday's Pegasus Parade.

TARC is also offering free rides throughout the city on Derby Eve, transit authority spokesman Jon Reiter said.

For more information about TARC routes and schedules, click here.

Hundreds of law enforcement officials will begin boosting traffic patrol on Wednesday for the steamboat races, said Major Kelly Jones, commander of special operations for Louisville Metro Police. The efforts will continue Thursday for both the Pegasus Parade, as well as the Oaks on Friday and the Derby on Saturday.

About 1,100 law enforcement officials will be patrolling Churchill Downs on Oaks and Derby day, Jones said.

"This is truly an all hands on deck effort," he said.

Jones also encourages everyone to understand what is and what is not permitted at the track on race days. Here is a list.

Here is more information about potential street closures and the Derby City Crime Prevention Detail, which will focus efforts on major entertainment areas following the races and parades.

Jacob Ryan joined LPM in 2014. Ryan is originally from Eddyville, Kentucky. Email Jacob at jryan@lpm.org.