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Philly Free Streets 2017: Everything you need to know

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Mark your calendars for October 28

Philly Open Streets will make roads car-free once again on October 28.
Photo by Melissa Romero

Editor’s note: This article will first published in July 2017 and has since been updated with the most recent information.

The second annual Philly Free Streets, a day-long event that shuts down Philly’s streets to only pedestrians, will be on Saturday, October 28 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Mayor Jim Kenney and other city officials made the announcement this Friday morning. The car-free, seven-mile route (round trip) will run up and down from 3rd and Chestnut streets in Old City to North 5th Street and Indiana Avenue in Fairhill.

“Philly Free Streets will transform our streets into a safe environment for physical activity and learning and further my commitment to improving neighborhoods and bettering the futures of children,” Kenney said at the announcement.

The October 28 event will be the second Philly Free Streets day. It launched last year on September 24, closing 10 miles of roads throughout the city, mostly along South Street. The first event drew around 30,000 people to the streets.

This time around, the route will aim to better connect Philly’s neighborhoods through new public programs. Indeed, the seven-mile route will create a connection between the historic Old City district, Germantown Avenue, through Kensington. The second end of the route will be located at El Centro de Oro, is a vibrant, Latino commercial district.

This was one of the recommendations that came out of a recent PennPraxis study that looked at feedback from residents, participants, and business owners who participated in last year’s Philly Free Streets event. The overall finding was that the event was a success both economically and in general—86 percent of survey respondents said they would likely attend another Philly Streets event.

But respondents did recommend that future events should include more interaction between community organizations, institutions, and neighborhoods, among others.

In addition, this year’s event will aim to highlight how street design can help promote more healthy neighborhoods by making them more walkable and bike-friendly.

More details about family-friendly events and more that day will be released in the coming weeks and months. Stay tuned!

Here’s a map of the entire route:

Courtesy of Philly Free Streets

Road closures and parking limits

As expected, the route from Old City to El Centro de Oro will be entirely closed off to cars—that includes parking. That means all driveway access will be prohibited along any streets that are marked “closed to traffic.” This will run from Saturday, October 28 from 4 a.m. to as late as 5 p.m.

Here’s a full list of road closures and parking information.

How to get there

The route is two-way, so it doesn’t matter where you start or end. SEPTA has a helpful Plan Your Trip tool that will tell you how to get to your destination, how long it will take, and how much it will cost.

Want to bike it? Indego stations can be found up and down the the route. The Bicycle Coalition of Philadelphia is also organizing a group bike ride—reserve a free Indego bike before they’re gone.

What to do while you’re there

It’s not just about walking or biking this year; along the route there will be multiple activity stations, like free fitness and dance classes at the Independence Activity Zone (3rd and Chestnut) and ​Flavor of the Barrio Activity Zone (N. 5th Street & Indiana Avenue); mural painting with Mural Arts (Somerset Street - west); even bike tune-ups at Vision Zero’s Safety Zone (N. 5th Street & Germantown Avenue).

Here’s a full list of activities you’ll find along the way.