Here Are the Latest Details About Philly’s First Open Streets Event

Mayor Kenney revealed more information about Philly Free Streets today. After the news conference, he declined to comment on the FBI raid of Johnny Doc's home.

Cyclists take to the streets during the “Pope Ride” Saturday. | Photo by Jesse Delaney

Cyclists take to the streets during Pope Francis’s visit in 2015. | Photo by Jesse Delaney

On September 24th, the city’s inaugural Open Streets event, known as “Philly Free Streets,” will cover a seven-mile course from the corner of Front and South streets to Sweet Briar Park. From 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., those streets will be closed to traffic and Philadelphia residents will have the chance to participate in fitness activities and explore the city’s roadways.

“Philly Free Streets will connect our diverse city neighborhoods, inviting people to use active transportation to explore the city’s rich urban fabric,” Mayor Jim Kenney said at a press conference about the event earlier today. “Philly Free Streets will further our commitment to improving neighborhoods and bettering the futures of our children.”

The idea was borne out of the papal visit in 2015, when many streets were closed to traffic and full of pedestrians and bikers. The designated route for Philly Free Streets spans 15 neighborhoods. Family-friendly fitness activities and education programming about the city’s waterways, public art, architecture, environment and culture will be hosted all along the route, according to officials.

“Cities all across the world are looking at how we move around, how we connect to one another, how we connect to our great public spaces, and how we invest in those activities to build the quality of life, to build equity across the city, and to connect people in new ways,” said city Managing Director Michael DiBerardinis.

The event will be sponsored by Snap Kitchen, and those interested in volunteering are encouraged to find more information online.

“A vision that Mayor Kenney has had has now officially launched into reality,” said city representative Sheila Hess. “Hopefully people are going to be looking to Philadelphia to replicate the model that we create.”

Following today’s news conference, Kenney was asked about the FBI raid of major ally and union leader John Dougherty’s home. He declined to comment. “I know basically what you know, and as it plays out, we’ll see what happens,” Kenney told reporters. “You can ask the question 20 different ways, but there won’t be any comment because I don’t have any information.”