On August 11, eight miles of Philadelphia streets—on North Broad Street between City Hall and Erie Avenue—will close to vehicular traffic for the third annual Philly Free Streets event. Mayor Kenney and the city of Philadelphia announced plans today, saying that this will be the largest event of its kind in the city yet. If you’ll remember, the Free Streets event in August was only seven miles, so this time around you’re getting a whole extra mile.
Make plans now: Roads will be open that day from 8am to 1pm for pedestrians, bikers, joggers and general gadabouts to stroll freely without the fear of any motorized disturbances, and local organizations and businesses will host events along the route throughout the day.
Philly Free Streets was inspired by the Pope visit in 2015, when much of the city was closed to traffic, allowing folks to walk and pedal wherever they wanted—including, and perhaps most memorably, across the Benjamin Franklin Bridge. People loved it so much that the Philly Free Streets initiative was born. The first one happened last September. Then, 10 miles of streets closed—mostly along South Street—and about 30,000 people showed up to take advantage of a blissful, car-free stroll through their city.
Like most Philly Street Events, which have drawn tens of thousands of spectators, the August event is meant to highlight a part of town that tends to get overshadowed by more popular areas like Center City. Organizers hope to draw attention to the culture of North Philly, and all the new development happening up that way, like the stunning Divine Lorraine and the Philadelphia Metropolitan Opera House.