Monday January 30, 2006
Chad Carlton, 574-1902 / 439-5075
Matt Kamer, 574-1903 / 797-6276 Violence, lawlessness, gridlock cannot be tolerated
Cruising on Derby weekend, which has been marked by increasing violence and lawlessness, will not be allowed to continue, Mayor Jerry Abramson said today.
"For the safety of our citizens, we must - and we will - end Derby weekend cruising," Abramson said.
Abramson and Police Chief Robert White made the announcement today, more than three months ahead of Derby festivities, to give ample notice to local participants and the increasing numbers of out-of-town visitors drawn by the out-of-control atmosphere.
Police will spread the word through websites, neighborhood meetings and the news media, White said.
Derby cruising has caused dangerous gridlock along West Broadway and has turned residential neighborhoods in the West End into raucous, open-air parties where violence, drugs, alcohol and guns are commonplace. In recent years, cruising has resulted in scores of arrests for drugs, assault, and even murder.
"We cannot reasonably assure the safety of the participants and residents in this kind of environment," White said.
Abramson made the decision after talking with White and police officers on the Derby cruising detail and meeting along the cruising route with neighbors, business owners, church and civic leaders and young people who participated in cruising.
"When it comes to public safety, my job is not to find a consensus solution," Abramson said. "My job is to do what’s right and what’s best to ensure the health and safety of our citizens."
Louisville Metro Police have sought the advice of police in other cities, such as Atlanta, Miami and Virginia Beach, which have curtailed cruising events in recent years.
White said police officers will prevent the gridlock caused by cruising by diverting traffic from West Broadway and ensuring cars continue moving along nearby streets. Cruising is against the law when it blocks traffic, and police will arrest people who fail to abide by the law.
The police department plan for West Louisville neighborhoods includes:
· Limiting West Broadway vehicular traffic to local residents and those with legitimate purposes to be in area
· Limiting pedestrian traffic and prevent loitering along corridor
· Securing all cross streets of Broadway to vehicular traffic along with East/West streets to North/South - Chestnut to North & Kentucky/Garland to South
· Creatiing mobile traffic units to address problematic traffic issues in area
· Establishing mobile crime prevention teams to address any trouble spots
· Enforcing "No Parking/No Stopping" and "Permit Only Parking" zones
· Enforcing city ordinances and state laws regarding disorderly behavior, loitering, drinking in public and noise ordinances.