Fifth largest US city is going car-free for one day to promote fitness

‘Philly Free Streets’ is taking place in September after activists pushed for more car-free days following the Pope's visit last year

 

Rachael Revesz
New York
@RachaelRevesz
Thursday 14 July 2016 14:31
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Philly's streets were car free during Pope Francis' visit last year
Philly's streets were car free during Pope Francis' visit last year

Large swathes of Philadelphia will go car-free during a weekend in September.

The city is the fifth largest in America, after New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston.

The last time the city opened up its streets was during Pope Francis’s visit last September, inspiring bicyclists and pedestrians to push for more car-free days.

At least eight miles worth of roads in the East Coast city will be closed to traffic between 8am and 1pm on Saturday 24 September, according to the Office of Transportation and Infrastructure Services.

Pedestrians will be able to walk, run and bike freely during the “Philly Free Streets” event, and activities for all ages and interests will be planned, a city spokesman said.

A group called the Philly Distance Runners said on their Facebook page, they were excited a date for traffic-free streets had been set.

"What better way to enjoy the freedom of zero car traffic on the wonderful streets of philly than by lacing up your favorite running shoes and running those Open Streets! As always there will be laughs, selfies, fun, and sweating!"

Fun and education programs, physical activity, history, arts, culture and sustainability events will be held across the space.

City spokesman Mike Dunn said the day will focus on residents being active.

“The planned route will generally run the length of South Street winding its way through Fairmount Park ending at the Belmont Plateau,” Mr Dunn said.

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