Open Streets PHL Campaign Wants More Car-Free Streets Next Summer

Yes, please!

ben franklin bridge

Car-free Ben Franklin Bridge | Photo by Adjua Fisher

This past weekend, when we Instagrammed our wish for Philly streets to be car-free all the time, we knew that wish probably wouldn’t come true — but the Open Streets PHL campaign is pushing for a compromise: Inspired by the car-free, open streets of Pope weekend, the campaign is pushing for Philly to have three “open streets weekends” next summer. Uh, yes, please!

The campaign, which just popped up on Facebook and Twitter yesterday, already has lots of support. (I mean, who wouldn’t want this to happen more often?) In just a day of being on Facebook, they already have over 1,700 Facebook followers and #OpenStreetsPHL has been getting lots of play on Twitter. On their Facebook page, they have a link to a petition urging Jim Kenney, who’s probably going to be our next mayor, to jump on board. One choice quote:

“The security measures [over Pope weekend], which limited motor vehicles, opened up our streets in new and unforeseen ways. Rather than feeling hampered by these measures, residents and visitors alike got a taste of freedom. Children played in the street, couples strolled hand in hand, visitors sang songs, and bike riders delighted at the strange ease of moving around the city.”

The campaign makes it clear, though, that they wouldn’t want businesses and restaurants to suffer, like they did this past time around. As the petition states, “Lots of Center City businesses saw their sales dip over the weekend and we need to include those businesses in planning this from the jump.”

Getting the city to oust cars for three full weekends in the summer might sound like a pipe dream, but we have hope, mostly because New York City already does this: In August, the city holds something called Summer Streets where, for three consecutive Saturdays, nearly seven miles of streets are opened up for people to walk, run, bike and hang out. And if they can do it, why can’t we?

You can learn more about Open Streets PHL and sign their petition here. We’ll just be over here, keeping our fingers crossed!

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