The hardcore security measures from the papal visit left Philly's streets wide open in 2015, and then the city tried something similar last year. Credit: Open Streets PHL

The city is partially shutting down Saturday in what the city is calling Philly Free Streets. It’ll be kind of like the pope weekend last year, except this time you’ll get to enjoy the openness without worrying about all those pilgrims.

From 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., nine miles of roads and trails will be part of the event. Here’s everything you need to know:

The route

The space opened up for Philly Free Streets stretches from Front and South Street to West Fairmount Park. It encompasses all of South Street from Front Street to the Schuylkill River, the Schuylkill River Trail, MLK Drive and western Fairmount Park.

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South Street is the biggest section of the route that will be closed to cars and trucks during this timeframe. The Schuylkill River Trail never allows vehicles; Martin Luther King Jr. Drive is closed to vehicle traffic on Saturdays. A few roads near Fairmount Park will also be closed in short stretches.

There’s no specific direction to walk or roam. From 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday you’ll be able to enjoy the lack of cars at any location of the route.

Are bikes OK?

Yep. Biking is fine. Philly Free Streets just advises cyclists to yield to pedestrians when necessary.  

Driving and parking

Closures last between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. South Street will be closed from river to river, but you’ll be able to cross it at the following intersections:

  • 23rd Street
  • 22nd Street
  • 20th Street
  • 19th Street
  • Broad Street
  • 11th Street
  • 8th Street
  • 7th Street
  • 4th Street
  • Front Street

Parking is not allowed on South Street, as well as on a handful of other areas along the route you can see here. Because of the changes to parking near South Street, anybody with a neighborhood permit can park in any permitted zone between Locust and Washington streets river to river from 9 p.m. Friday to 5 p.m. Saturday.  

The activities

Philly Free Streets is touting this event as a way to promote healthier lifestyles in the city. So many of the activities planned for Philly Free Streets fit this theme. Throughout the route you’ll be able to join in the following:

  • A mural hopscotch and mural maze
  • Environmental fish ladder tour on the Schuylkill River
  • Group runs and bike rides
  • Boot camp
  • Arts and crafts
  • Yoga
  • Zumba
  • Line dancing

Here’s a map showing where all the activities are located along the route:

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There will also be a concert in Fairmount Park featuring local dance groups.

Mark Dent is a reporter/curator at BillyPenn. He previously worked for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, where he covered the Jerry Sandusky scandal, Penn State football and the Penn State administration. His...