Philadelphia’s First Official Open Streets Day Hits This Saturday

Philly Free Streets opens up 10 miles of Philly roads for a day-long people-powered party...

A full 10 miles to roam free with no cars on the streets? Yes please!

During Pope Francis’s visit to the City of Brotherly Love last September, we got a taste of what it might be like if pedestrians could walk, bike or play in the middle of the street — traffic-free.

Ever since, many Philadelphians have been asking for another day of car-free streets, and this Saturday, Philly Free Streets makes it happen.

Philly Free Streets Fast Facts

  • Philly Free Streets day is Saturday, September 24, 8 a.m.-1 p.m.
  • 10 miles of roads will temporarily close to vehicular traffic and open to walkers, runners and bikers.
  • The route follows South Street from Front Street to the Schuylkill River Trail, up to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive and on to West Fairmount Park. See route map below.
  • Participants can join the Philly Free Streets fun at any point along the route.
  • Special family-friendly programming is scheduled throughout the day.

A people-powered City of Philadelphia initiative, Philly Free Streets is part of the city’s commitment to better connect Philadelphians to parks and trails. Its inaugural event on Saturday, September 24 will shut down 10 miles of roads to traffic from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., allowing anyone to hang out in the middle of the street.

During Philly Free Streets, cycle the streets, run down the double yellow line or partake in special programming (think Zumba, yoga and more) smack in the center of the street, all sans traffic.

Philly Free Streets
(M. Edlow for Visit Philadelphia)
Look forward to walking and cycling in open streets, along with Zumba, hula-hooping, boot camp classes, yoga, crafting activities and other special Philly Free Street programming!

Overview and Street Closures

Since 1994, the City of Philadelphia has closed Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive to vehicular traffic on weekends, opening up the pavement road that lines the scenic Schuylkill River in efforts to encourage an active and healthy lifestyle. On Saturdays and Sundays from the first weekend in April until the last weekend in October, bikers, runners and walkers can enjoy the four-mile stretch without having to worry about traffic.

Now, the City is expands that program with Philly Free Streets, a one-day happening that furthers the commitment to encourage active transportation.

Organized by the Office of Transportation & Infrastructure Systems with tons of local community support, the event will temporarily close traffic to 10 miles of roads, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive.

The route follows South Street from Front Street to the Schuylkill River Trail and heads up to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive and on to West Fairmount Park. A more detailed map is expected to be released soon, but check below for a visual overview of the route.

Parking will be prohibited along the Philly Free Streets route, as well as in other key locations directly adjacent to the route.

For details on parking restrictions for both area residents and out-of-towners, check here.

(Image courtesy Philly Free Streets)
The 10-mile Philly Free Streets route runs along…

  • South Street from Front Street to the Schuylkill River Trail
  • Along the Schuylkill River Trail to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive
  • To Parkside and West Fairmount Park

Activity Highlights

While pedaling your bike or simply walking in your sneaks in the middle of the street is awesome in itself, the Philly Free Streets team has planned some extra fun. The details on timing and locations are still being determined, but family-friendly programming is expected to unfold along the entire 10-mile route. Check back for updates.

Look out for organized activities such as Zumba, yoga, hula-hooping, line dancing and more. A mural hopscotch and maze is in the works, as are several arts and crafts activities and storytelling sessions. If you want to hit the pavement with some pals, hop on a group bike ride or run, or sweat it out in a boot camp training sessions.

Additionally, Philadelphia City departments, including Indego Bike ShareDepartment of Public Health, City Representative, Mural Arts, Free Library of Philadelphia and Philadelphia Water will provide programming, along with other local organizations.

Philly Free Streets
(M. Edlow for Visit Philadelphia)
Bike up Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and head to Sweetbriar Fields to catch musical acts including…

  • A.C.T. Dance Group
  • Dance 4 Life
  • Franklin Learning Center Dance
  • Hip Hop Fundamentals
  • I am Presh Dance Academy
  • The Lady Hoofers

Live Music and Free Swag

Just off the open-street path, Sweetbriar Fields in West Fairmount Park is set to host a community concert highlighting an array of local artists. The packed line-up includes A.C.T. Dance Group, Dance 4 Life, Danse4Nia, Franklin Learning Center Dance, Hip Hop Fundamentals, I am Presh Dance Academy and The Lady Hoofers, guaranteeing hours of live beats. Stay up to date on details surrounding timing by clicking here.

Aside from free live music, Philly Free Streets has some great giveaways for you to score, too. Ready to be rewarded for your workout?

If you have an iOS or Android phone, download the Vea Fitness App at www.VeaFitness.com, which will enable you to earn giveaways and rewards from the City of Philadelphia, Snap Kitchen, Fitbit and other brands. Obtain prizes by taking on fitness challenges on the app.

Not a mobile phone users? No sweat – aside from the physical sweat you’ll work up! Visit one of the Philly Free Streets information stations set up along the event’s route to get a “challenge passport,” making you eligible to earn cool prizes without a phone.

Rest up, friends, and get ready to take to the open road with us this Saturday!

After the festival, be sure to stick around for the celebrations surrounding the relighting of Boathouse Row, which are complete with a never-before-seen light show, live music and plenty of food and drinks.

Philly Free Streets

When:Saturday, September 24, 8 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Where:Philly Free Streets, South Street from Front Street to the Schuylkill River Trail; Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive on to West Fairmount Park
Cost:Free

www.phillyfreestreets.com

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