Essential Guide To Philly’s Giant Free Streets Day On August 11

Philly Free Streets brings car-free festivities to North Broad Street...

Get ready for hours of open-road roaming and fresh-air fun, Philadelphia.

Philly Free Streets returns on Saturday, August 11 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. to provide pedestrians, runners and cyclists with five vehicle-free hours on North Broad Street between City Hall and Erie Avenue.

PHILLY FREE STREETS FAST FACTS

  • Philly Free Streets takes place on Saturday, August 11 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • The eight-mile round-trip route stretches between City Hall and Erie Avenue on North Broad Street.
  • The route is closed to vehicular traffic to allow walkers, runners and bikers to move about freely.
  • The event is free and open to the public.

This free event highlights Philadelphia’s walkability and promotes active transportation alternatives by shutting down major roadways to vehicular traffic and encouraging residents and visitors to walk, run and bike along the temporarily car-free thoroughfares.

Along the way, attendees find free activities (including a beach!), educational programming and ample opportunities to explore the lively neighborhoods surrounding the route.

What Is Philly Free Streets?

The Philly Free Streets program — managed by the City of Philadelphia’s Managing Director’s Office of Transportation & Infrastructure Systems — started in 2016 to promote active transportation methods. The event encourages people to engage in healthy activities, socialize with neighbors and explore different corridors of the city without needing to worry about cars.

Family biking during Philly Free Streets
(Photo by Visit Philadelphia)
The third annual Philly Free Streets creates a car-free connection from Center City to North Philadelphia.

The 2016 event took place on South Street, while 2017’s successful happening connected Philadelphia’s Historic District to El Centro de Oro in North Philadelphia.

With a round-trip route that covers eight miles, this year’s event is bigger than ever before, turning North Broad Street into a safe, pedestrian promenade connecting the heart of Center City to bustling North Philadelphia.

All people-powered, non-motorized transport is permitted along the route. That does mean that attendees should leave e-bikes, powered scooters, powered skateboards and hoverboards at home. That said, Philly Free Streets is accessible to people with mobility limitations who use motorized wheelchairs, scooters, pedal-assist bikes and adaptive bicycles.

Indego, Philly’s bike share program, sets up stations at three different stops along the Philly Free Streets route. Interested riders can find bikes at John F. Kennedy Boulevard, south of Girard Avenue and Oxford Street.

Things to Do Along the Route

There’s more to Philly Free Streets than just the awesome open space to freely walk, run and bike.

More than 20 locations host activities and programming for free along the route courtesy of some of the city’s museums, educational institutions, community development corporations and non-profits.

Activities range from yoga and yard games to dance workshops and mosaic-magnet making.

Programming Highlights

Attendees interested in learning more about the rich African-American history of the route can take part in Then & Now: Black History on North Broad Street, an interactive, educational scavenger hunt. Presented by North Central Philadelphia CDC/RCO in partnership Leon H. Sullivan Trust, Joe Frazier Scholarship Fund, Uptown Theater and more, the scavenger hunt reveals the historical significance of the major thoroughfare to participants collecting “tickets” at six designated rest stops located at Callowhill Street, Poplar Street, Cecil B. Moore Street, Susquehanna Avenue, Huntingdon Street and Sedgley Avenue.

Chalk art at Philly Free Streets
(Photo by Visit Philadelphia)
Activities, programming and on-site attractions this year include a scavenger hunt, chalk painting, fitness classes and a 1,500-square-foot man-made beach.

Mural Arts Philadelphia partners with many different organizations at points along the route to provide tons of public art-making activities. At Fairmount Avenue and further north at Westmoreland Street, attendees can help transform pedestrian plazas into works of art using chalk paint. At Uptown Theater between Susquehanna Avenue and Dauphin Street, there’s an opportunity to help paint a mural depicting the history of the historic building.

Other highlights include free museum admission all day at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Mayor Kenney’s annual group power walk at 9 a.m. at John F. Kennedy Boulevard, a mobile bike shop at Germantown Avenue and the Beech Jazz on the Ave Music Festival, which starts at noon at Cecil B. Moore Street.

The Beach on North Broad

The North Broad Renaissance and The Goldenberg Group partner to transform the front lawn of Leon H. Sullivan Human Services Center into a 1,500-square-foot beach — complete with 50 tons of sand, Adirondack chairs, umbrellas, hammocks and a variety of beach games like corn hole and paddle ball — for two weekends in August.

Debuting during Philly Free Streets, this pop-up paradise on North Broad and Master streets promises visitors all the summer fun that the shore has to offer without needing to leave the city.

For the full schedule of activities and all of the location details for each event, click here.

The Map, Road Closures & More

Philly Free Streets closes an eight-mile round-trip stretch of North Broad Street, from City Hall to Erie Avenue in North Philadelphia. There is no formal starting point or finish line, so attendees can enter or exit at any point along the event footprint.

(Photo by Visit Philadelphia)
The Philly Free Streets eight-mile roundtrip route is closed to traffic for five full hours and open to all people-powered, non-motorized transport, including Philly’s Indego bike sharing.

The below streets close to vehicular traffic starting at 6 a.m. on Saturday, August 11:

  • North Broad Street between John F. Kennedy Boulevard and Butler Street
  • Arch Street between Norh Broad and Juniper streets
  • Vine Street (westbound) between North 15th and North 13th streets
  • Wood Street between North Broad and North 13th streets
  • Mt. Vernon Street between Watts and North Broad streets
  • Wallace Street between Watts and North Broad streets
  • Fairmount Avenue between Ridge Avenue and North Broad Street
  • Brown Street between Carlisle and North Broad streets
  • Poplar Street between Carlisle and North Broad streets
  • Poplar Street between Watts and North Broad streets
  • Stiles Street between Carlisle and North Broad streets
  • Oxford Street between Park Avenue and North Broad Street
  • Cecil B. Moore Avenue between Park Avenue and North Broad Street
  • Susquehanna Avenue between Watts and North Broad streets
  • Huntingdon Street between Carlisle and North Broad streets
  • Westmoreland Street between Caribbean Feast (located at the intersection of Westmoreland Street and Rising Sun Avenue) and North Broad Street
  • Rising Sun Avenue between Watts and North Broad streets
  • Venango Street between North 15th and North Broad streets
  • Germantown Avenue between Erie Avenue and Butler Street

 

The Philly Free Streets map above can also be viewed here.

The following cross streets will remain open to vehicular traffic for the duration of the event:

  • John F. Kennedy Blvd.
  • Vine Street (eastbound)
  • Spring Garden Street
  • Ridge Avenue
  • Girard Avenue
  • Diamond Street
  • Lehigh Avenue
  • Allegheny Avenue
  • Erie Avenue
  • Lehigh Avenue
  • Clearfield Street

Refer here for complete parking, SEPTA detours and street closure information.

Start warming up now and get ready to get moving at this awesome event on Saturday, August 11.

Philly Free Streets 2018

When:Saturday, August 11, 8 a.m.-1 p.m.
Where:N. Broad Street between City Hall and Erie Avenue
Cost:Free

www.phillyfreestreets.com

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