When Pope Francis visited Philadelphia in 2015, the city essentially became the Vatican. City officials limited travel on certain thoroughfares. It virtually left Center City residents without the use of their cars. Many opted to skip town to avoid the expected chaos.
The resulting emptiness left the roads available for exploration and planted the seed for an initiative that would purposefully shut down portions of the city for part of a day and allow people to roam freely.
This year’s Philly Free Streets took place on Saturday, August 11, from 8:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m and covered many of the city’s major streets. For North Philly, meant Broad Street was blocked off to motor vehicle traffic from City Hall to Erie Avenue/Germantown Avenue intersection.
In addition of enjoying Dwight’s Southern Barbecue and Max’s Steaks, people could have made additions to the street mural organized by Mural Arts and the Free Library’s Nicetown-Tioga branch or joined in on other family-friendly activities.
“The extension of the 2018 route North to Butler Street is an excellent opportunity to show off one of North Philadelphia’s great commercial corridors,” said Amelia Price, CTS’s Corridor Manager and its liaison to the Broad, Germantown & Erie Merchants Association (BGEMA). “We are excited to bring more activity to the businesses along the Broad Street, Germantown & Erie Avenue corridor this August, and hope that residents will then return to patronize these local businesses again in the future.”