Philadelphia is embracing its reputation as "one of America's last great walking cities" this weekend by making South Street and other roads car-free.
Cars are banned and pedestrians and cyclists will get to take over the length of Front and South streets, along with a large chunk of West Fairmount Park, during Philly Free Streets, a pro-fitness city initiative that will take place from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday.
Philadelphia wasranked 4th most walkable city by the national Walk Score polland itrecently gave citizens a taste of open streets during the World Meeting of Families. Security measures for Pope Francis' visit shut down virtually all of Center City to vehicular traffic.
Hundreds of cyclists enjoyed the situation during the "PopeRide," pedaling along roads usually filled with automobiles. Some locals took advantage of this unexpected benefit to enhance their ordinary city walks. Filmmaker Cory J. Popp even made a short film, entitled Philly Without Cars.
Open Streets Philly was founded on Facebook within days of Pope Francis delivering Mass on the Parkway and quickly attracted thousands of followers. It has partnered with theCity of Philadelphia's Managing Director's Office of Transportation & Infrastructure Systems to make that dream a reality.
There's no starting point and you can enter Free Streets from anywhere along the 10-mile route. Strollers are welcome. Bikes are too, riders are asked to yield to all pedestrians.
At various points along the route, Philly Free Streets will offer entertainment and attractions, including " free, family-friendly fitness activities and educational programming about the City’s waterways, public art, architecture, environment, and vibrant cultures."
Cars parked along the roads that are closing will be towed starting 3 a.m. on Saturday. The designated roads will close to traffic from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. during the event.
To accommodate displaced drivers, parking enforcement will be "relaxed" river to river from Locust Street to Washington Avenue from 5 p.m. Friday to 6 p.m. Saturday, organizers said.
That means residents with zone parking can park outside their zone. Illegal parking will still get you a ticket.