Ten miles of the city’s typically traffic-ridden streets will go carless for five hours on Saturday for Philly Free Streets, a “people-powered,” health-inspired initiative. And here is quite possibly the best part: somewhere in the crowd, leading a troop of speedy, sweaty power-walkers, will be Mayor Jim Kenney.
Kenney’s office confirmed that he’ll head of group of walkers along the route, and according to the Inquirer, they’re embarking at 9 a.m. from the intersection of Second and South streets.
The Philly Free Streets route includes the entire length of South Street, starting at Front street and heading west to the South Street Bridge, where participants can access the Schuylkill River trail and ride/walk/run/rollerblade it north to Martin Luther King Drive until they reach the East Falls Bridge.
The event, largely brought to fruition by Open Streets PHL, stems from the Pope’s visit last September (remember that?), when Philly residents were initially up in arms about road closures and then surprisingly pleased with the result: miles of eerily empty streets for residents to explore in ways they never had before.
There’s no formal start and finish to the route, which will feature 50 organizations offering family-friendly fitness activities and educational programming about the city’s public art, architecture, cultures and waterways. There will also be toilets and water stations along the way. Check out a full map of programs here.
For drivers who are fretting about the event: anyone with questions about street closures or parking restrictions should visit this website. Northbound and/or southbound cars can cross South Street at the following intersections: 23rd, 22nd, 20th, 19th, Broad, 11th, 8th, 7th, 4th, and Front Streets.
Ticketing and towing for the event begins at 3 a.m. Saturday, so be sure to have your car off South Street or any other marked routes by then. All cars towed because of Philly Free Streets can be retrieved from 2501 Weccacoe Avenue, near Front Street and Columbus Boulevard.
These roads will also be closed to vehicular traffic: Lansdowne Drive between Girard Avenue and North 41st Street, Sweet Briar Drive between MLK Drive and Lansdowne Drive, and Black Road between MLK Drive and Parkside Avenue (via North 41st Street).
Best of luck out there!
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