How the Pope Will Affect Your Running Plans

Closures along the Schuylkill River Trail and MLK Drive you need to know about.

Schuylkill Trail along Kelly Drive // Photograph by Jeff Fusco

Schuylkill Trail along Kelly Drive // Photograph by Jeff Fusco

Hey guys, did you hear that Pope Francis will be in Philly this week? It’s true. And after months of rumors and plans and logistics, we now have a clear idea of how the papal tour de Philadelphia will affect pretty much every area of your life.

If you’re specifically interested in how your running plans may be impacted, you’ve come to the right place. There are closures along the Schuylkill River Trail and MLK Drive near the Art Museum that you should be aware of. 

The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia informs us that MLK Drive will be completely closed to pedestrians, cyclists and motorists for the entire weekend, from the 25th through the 27th. Kelly Drive will be closed to cars, but you’ll be able to use it and the Schuylkill River Trail for biking or running between East Falls and Brewery Hill Drive, just north of the Girard Avenue Bridge.

The section of the SRT between Girard Avenue and Chestnut Street — including Boathouse Row and the Art Museum — will be closed to all users beginning Thursday, September 24th at 10 p.m. and reopening at a to-be-determined time on Monday, September 28th. The Schuylkill Banks will be open from Chestnut Street to South Street.

Speaking of the Banks, don’t expect to be able to use the restrooms south of Walnut Street. Those will be closed on Saturday and Sunday, and reopening at some point on Monday.

After all the madness is over, the Schuylkill River Development Corporation will be hosting a post-Pope trail cleanup day along the Schuylkill Banks on Tuesday the 29th at 1 p.m. Meet under the Walnut Street Bridge.

If you’re looking for other places to run in the area that don’t carry any kind of Pope-related restrictions, check out our guide to the best running trails in Philly and beyond.

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