Philly Free Streets: 42 photos from the car-free party on North Broad

Biking, walking, rollerblading, skateboarding, dancing, painting, playing and singing filled the thoroughfare.

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Danya Henninger / Billy Penn
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The third annual Philly Free Streets is in the books as a big success.

North Broad Street was closed to car traffic on Saturday, Aug. 11, from City Hall up to Erie Avenue, and was filled instead with Philadelphians of all ages, from all parts of the city.

People strolled lazily, jogged briskly, held signs of protest, glided by on roller skates, whizzed through via bicycle and even came together for choreographed dances — but no matter what mode of transport they used, everyone shared the road.

Along the eight-plus miles — four in each direction — were several activities stations. Some offered the chance to help draw chalk murals, some provided opportunities like registering to vote or signing up for school and others welcomed people with live music on stage.

There was also the pop-up beach at Broad and Master (which will be open Aug. 12 and 18-19), which offered a giant sandbox, a kiddie volleyball court, a giant beach ball, several hammocks and umbrellas under which to relax.

The Phillie Phanatic was on hand, and Mayor Kenney showed up for his annual power walk, concluding it with a cheesesteak from Max’s.

The idea to close down a major thoroughfare to cars for a day grew out of Pope Francis’ 2015 visit to Philly. Security measures caused major traffic disruptions, but the one upside of the “pope fence” was that it left miles of streets open for use by people.

The first official Philly Free Streets took over South Street in 2016, and in October of last year, the party landed on a seven-mile stretch from Fairhill to Old City. There are now calls for the city to do something like this more often than just once a year.

One of the best things about the event is the variety of people it brings out. Relive the fun with these 42 photos from Philly Free Streets 2018.

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