LMPD :: Louisville Metro Police Department

Few signs of cruising on Broadway in downtown Louisville


For the second night in a row, the once-raucous tradition of Broadway cruising - formerly an annual Derby weekend event that brought gridlock and occasional violence to a primary east-west downtown artery - was but a shadow of its former self on Saturday.

Traffic flowed at a near-normal pace in the evening and crowds were sparse, the polar opposite of years past when gleaming restored cars, alcohol and thousands of partiers, many from out of town, dominated the streetscape.

"It's not even like a regular Saturday," said Jessie Green, who runs Big Momma's Soul Food Kitchen at 4532 W. Broadway and was selling food to the few passersby outside her restaurant.

Cruising all but came to an end in 2006, after several shootings during Derby weekend the year before left an Ohio man dead, three others wounded and traffic at a standstill, generating a chorus of complaints about lewd behavior and demands that order be restored.

At the behest of then-Mayor Jerry Abramson, Louisville Metro Police implemented a ban on cruising five years ago that included setting up barricades and closing parts of Broadway.

Police didn't block traffic this year, and what traffic there was Saturday flowed smoothly along West Broadway as groups of people clustered around barbecue venders. Leaning out the window of the Connie's Barbecue food stand near 27th Street, Connie Effinger said business on Derby weekend has dropped for her but safety and the overall environment on West Broadway had improved.

As of 10:00 p.m. Saturday, police had made three misdemeanor arrests, served one felony warrant and issued one traffic citation. On Friday, police made 19 misdemeanor and six felony arrests, served one felony and 18 misdemeanor warrants, issued 36 parking, traffic and cruising citations and three noise citations.