Your Handy #PhillyFreeStreets Cheat Sheet/Explainer
BY MICHAEL McGETTIGAN
If you’d like to “free yourself from the four walls of today” and know what the Philadelphia of the future could and should be like, there is no better time or place than tomorrow morning at Philly Free Streets.
From 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, every inch of South Street — from river to river, then the MLK drive north alongside the Schuylkill and up through a nice chunk of Fairmount Park — will be a place where no cars go.
If you missed the Pope Ride, an epic cycling journey through the Pontifex-calmed streets of Philly last fall, do not miss this one. Ride your slowest, most comfortable bike, or skateboard along, or just amble and dream, without worrying about Joe or Joan SUV trying to muscle past you.
Since it’s partly a Philly government deal, it’s a bit cautious: not long enough in time or space, and a bit over-eager, with pop-up food truck courts, bands, yoga, and umpteen other activities as if just booting out the cars wasn’t enough. And why wasn’t it called “CAR-Free Streets?”
But let us not nitpick, leave us not. Go ahead and be a participant-activist; get off your bike and downward dog it for a bit, line dance on the South Street Bridge, and so on. But mainly, indulge in that most challenging and rewarding of Philly pastimes — just looking about you, at all of us multitudes and digging how wildly varied we Philadelphians are when we’re on-the-hoof, freed from those metal boxes.
Here are some important times/places to remember:
• 9 a.m. Power Walk with Mayor Jim Kenney, starts at 2nd and South Streets.
• 11:15 a.m. Big Bicycle Coalition Bike Ride, also at 2nd and South: Cruise out to Fairmount Park for a band show and food truck hang. This ride will take you over just about the whole length of the closed streets, and end at a party, so do it.
• 10 a.m. Monday morning, at your telephone: CALL the Mayor’s office, and your Council members to thank them for this; then firmly ask, “When is the next Free Streets Event happening this year?”